Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday 5

It's been awhile since we've done one of these, so let's have a little fun. Top five albums in your collection that are guilty pleasures. You know, the albums that you love that you would never, ever want the rest of us catch you listening to.

  • FutureSex/LoveSounds - Justin Timberlake: Nuff said.
  • Judgment Night - Soundtrack: This is the unholy lovechild of "120 Minutes" and "Yo! MTV Raps". The tracks on this album miss more than hit, but damn is it fun. The Mudhoney/Sir Mix-a-Lot collaboration "Freakmomma" is worth the price.
  • Up - REM: The lads minus Bill Berry start life anew as an art pop trio. They fail, sounding more like warmed-over Automatic for the People. Fortunately for me, I still like Automatic.
  • In Through The Out Door - Led Zeppelin: The last studio Zep album definitely does not rock, but I still love it.
  • Flash Gordon Soundtrack - Queen: C'mon, tell me you don't love, "Flash! Ah aaaaaah!"

You may point and laugh in comments, so long as we can point and laugh at you.

Comic Book Life

I saw this at Froomkin's White House watch. Sure makes me wish I had time to peruse the WSJ more often. "Andrew Klavan writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: "There seems to me no question that the Batman film 'The Dark Knight,' currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

"And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell."

I want to know..... exactly who is Robin in this analogy???

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When the unfortunately named lash out

Meet John "Jack" Kass, columnist for the Chicago Tribune and world-class Obama hater. "Jack" Kass is angry:

"Did you ever notice that when John McCain is on TV he's always grumpy?" asked a colleague in the cafeteria who whispered, lest others denounce him for Barackian Thought Crimes.

"McCain's always made to look old and angry, a curmudgeon. And Barack Obama? He's always seen as presidential, cool, smiling, shaking hands," whispered the guy.

Now, a rational person would look at, say, this:

And then look at not only the candidate, but at his image consultants, asking, "Really, are you guys trying to lose?"

"Jack" Kass, however, is not rational. And who does he blame?

I believe this phenomenon is called liberal bias. And the country has caught on.

Since I mentioned it a few days ago, newspapers, Web sites, radio and TV news have been full of stories about media bias and outraged denials, recrimination and guilt. Always the guilt. Obama's people know we're guilty.

That's right, "Jack" Kass was the first to notice liberal bias in the media. Not just content to put lipstick on that old sow, he sprinkles in some queer innuendo:

Guilt is what McCain is playing on, too, trying to shame journalists with a new video with dueling sound tracks about the Media Love that Dares Speak Barack, featuring MSNBC host Chris Matthews shrieking that when he hears Obama talk, a tingle runs down his leg.

some astonishingly bad advice:

Predictably, McCain blew it by selecting lame songs for his video. He should have used "Barry Angel" sung to the old dusty "Johnny Angel" or my personal favorite, "Oh-Bama" sung to the 1958 hit, "Oh, Donna," back in the Route 66 days when McCain was young and not so old.

some more not-so-subtle innuendo:

Meanwhile, the Democrat Obama is treated quite differently. He's the Mr. Tumnus of American politics, the gentle forest faun of Narnia, with throngs of reporters trembling to sit with him at tea and cakes, like the little girl in the C.S. Lewis story, as he plays the flute, chanting "We Are The Change We've Been Waiting For." And nobody laughs.

Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

some bedwetting about "angry bloggers":

I hesitated to suggest this is because of liberal media bias, because the last time I said so, I was frightened and intimidated by the angry left blog Daily Kos, which has discovered that I'm not liberal. One Kos reader suggested that he'd read my column in the Tribune only "if the headline read 'Tribune Columnist Beaten to a Pulp.'"

and, just because you can't do it enough, a smidgen more innuendo, with bonus cult implications!:

Because the election is over, isn't it? Obama is president, all we're waiting for is the transcending, when a beam of light shines on Chris Matthews' face, carrying him to the heavens, smiling, that tingle running down his leg.

Poor, angry "Jack" Kass.

Missing You, Accepting Him

He's not yet my guy - I still pine for Novick - but I'm getting to a place of resolve about Merkley. Hearing him talk left-of-Obama talk suits me.

Who, what and where would you rather?

from the cnn "Sen. John McCain sharpened his attacks against Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday, saying he'd rather give a speech in Germany as president than as a presidential candidate."

EZ stepped up his attacks against reason and sanity, saying "
I would rather give a victory cry in Mordor as Frodo, than as Gollum...

I would rather give a speech to hordes of fans without tickets at Woodstock as Jerry than as Bill Graham...

I would rather give rescue one more try in an island in the Pacific as the professor than as Gilligan....

I would rather give a speech in Germany as Hogan than as Colonel Klink...

I would rather give an ad presentation to the big new client as the first Darrin than as the second..."

What would you rather?

Feb 2007 Tape - I'm Leaving for Birmingham

Download the Feb 2007 tape. [I first started making myself these playlists in January of 2007, so I could sort of have a memento from each individual thirty-day eon of headspace that I spent on my machine…Also, I have far, far too many songs/albs in my i-tunes than I can organize in even the most haphazard of way.. So having a month’s worth of hits clomped together made sense, and imbued my days of research with a weird, sonic-curatorial function.
What I’m trying to say is that I actually listen to these playlists - I have hard copy cds of each in my car. And I’d love it if you listened, too.

What a great comp, no? My “January 2007” mixtape was a bit erratic, but this dog was a full-on success. ]

Espresso Love by Dire Straits
There was a lotta shit going on in NJ in 1986 that you wouldn’t believe. I don’t believe it, and I was there! This cut was a favorite of my aunt’s, a Springsteen worshipper and former “wine n’ beach party”-type who took my sis and I to meet people who played volleyball and dug the vibe of the Marina. It’s from Making Movies, the predecessor of the then-contemporary, fantastically awesome Brothers in Arms.

First Gear by the Rapture
Like the Liars and Black Dice, these guys were near royalty five years ago, but their bandwagoneer/pundit friends seem to’ve run out of things to say about ‘em… well, great. But what about me? Oh god, how have I forgotten all about this band? Here’s the thing, the one album of theirs that I don’t love – Echoes – is most famous (what a contrarian son-of-a-gun, no?) Well, from their gravity records days on through the more discoist tendencies of late, I’ve been a fan. Simply a filthy vocal track on this, end of story!

Mona by JJ Cale
Meanwhile, all my hero-ish dudes like Waylon Jennings and Neil Young always knew enough to enlist JJ Cale as a sideman if not evoke him as an oracle. Here we have a tasty, phased lead guitar and unpretentious sexual innuendo. Eric Clapton couldn’t do this if his life depended on it.

Flying Fuck For All by “New" Terror Class
If recently I mentioned a dearth of punk rock records I really loved from the 1990s, well the 2000s’d be even dearthier. Thankfully there is this gigantic sprawling album from Kent, OH’s finest. Only one tendril of a Kent tendency that also includes Party of Hellicopters and the unfucwithable Harriet the Spy, Terror Class stands out for their lyrical confrontationalism and their swirling mix of synth and gtrs. This is the classic “fuck you, parent! You don’t understand that I need to work in a video store and reissue 7”s” song.

Phosphate Skin (live) by Son Volt
Live on KXPN, this the first full-band public performance of material from the “Search.” James Walbourne is the badass on electric guitar backing up this, top-10 headiest songs Farrar has ever written. Very resolute choruses, huh? Somebody made the point that the gtr vibe on the studio version of this song reminds them of Black and Blue-era Stones.

We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue by Curtis Mayfield
(Comment withheld.. you know this one?)

Town by Richard Buckner
The band on this album – feat. Buzzo from the Buttheads, Son Volt’s Andrew Duplantis GBV/Cobra Verde/Gem’s Doug Gillard, and more) is an effing monster. So much so, in fact, that you don’t mind these songs structure and content seeming like siblings of its predecessor, Dents and Shells.

Circles by Bob Mould
One of the only two cuts from Body of Sound that approach the level of 2008’s amazing District Line. That’s what you need to hear, is District Line.

Amajan by Ilyas Ahmed
My favorite new artist from 2007, here heard at his most Flying Saucer/Tower Recordings/Jessamine-y. Spacious, quite, resigned gtr chords descend endlessly unto themselves while a languid, language-less Speaker sings what is either a prayer or lamentation.

I Want My Baby Back by the Ethics
Oh those slip-slappy, choppy, funky chords! To get in, and to get out, within 2 minutes….?

She’s All Up Above by Mojave 3
Another personal landmark. Note the lazy, spicy pedal steel vibes and juxtapose it to Neal Hagerty’s English vocs.

Great Cop by Fugazi
Punk rock from the 90s huh? I look for wires when I’m talking to you.

Somebody in the World for You by the Mighty Hannibal
Nothing extra special about the (nonetheless awesome) groove, noting too cute or engaging about the lyrics. But, Mighty Hannibal catapults himself to the forefront of your consciousness nonetheless, on energy and elbow grease alone. Tough stuff.

Edge of the World by Bill Nelson
I stole a 2cd Nelson retrospective from my step-brother in the early 2000s. There is an ethereal kind of, uh, “edge of the world” vibe here that gives me a sense of what Mississippi fish-camps might be like during nuclear winter.

The Blues Don’t Knock by Don Covay
Ooh, let’s take things out with a closing time object lesson. Lucky you, so beautiful and cold.

Terminate his career

This seems like a bright idea:
Schwarzenegger set to slash Ca. state workers' pay
By Kevin Yamamura and Jon Ortiz | Sacramento Bee

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to sign an executive order next week intended to temporarily reduce pay for 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour to preserve cash until lawmakers reach a budget deal, according to a draft copy of the order obtained by The Bee.

The governor's order also would terminate about 22,000 retired annuitants, temporary workers and seasonal employees, as well as impose a hard freeze that blocks the hiring of roughly 1,700 new employees per month.

Administration officials said the Republican governor expects to take the action Monday, when the budget will be four weeks late as Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over how to resolve a $15.2 billion

It will surely help his (rumored) run against Boxer.

P-Ship Unconditional Endorsee in the LAT

Because the Left Business Observer needs your dollars and I'm wont to cut-and-paste too much of its prose; because I nonetheless often labor at convincing you to rock Doug Henwood's weekly radio broadcasts, let alone his two essential books; because in my line of work one becomes alternately attracted to and repelled by the middle-brow, half-assed but fully-ideological "commentary" pertaining to the financial sector on cable tv; for all of these reasons I am happy to point you towards Doug Henwood and some guy from Slate battling over whether or not Phil Gramm was right to assert that our nation's economic woes are primarily "psychological." Read the whole exchange here, but first dawdle by this choice slab of C. Wright Mills-ish "plain marxism" in the LA Times:
According to research by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez (spreadsheet), the average inflation-adjusted income for the bottom 90% of the U.S. population (households with incomes below $100,000) peaked in 1978 and is down 5% since. Over the same period, the income of the top 0.01% (incomes of $10,000,000 or more in 2005) rose by 240%. The gains are less spectacular as you descend from the mega-rich down through the very rich and toward the upper-middle class. Times are pretty good for tenured professors and economic pundits -- maybe not as good as they've been for the titans of private equity, but still a lot better than they've been for teachers, hairdressers and computer programmers. Sure, the economy has grown over the last five, 10 or 30 years, but that has not translated into growing paychecks for most Americans. Is that what we call "long-run progress"?

I Am Hank Hill

I just got back from a three day raft trip on the lovely Deschutes River in Central Oregon. I was looking forward to continuing to my vacation by enjoying some relaxing sleeping in. I find nothing relaxes so much as sleeping. Unfortunately, my neighbor picked this morning to build some half-assed enclosure in his backyard using copious amounts of chicken wire and staples.

Now I understand that reasonable men (and women I suppose, but shouldn't they be in the kitchen or something?) could disagree about the earliest time it is acceptable to begin backyard projects. I have heard it advanced that 8 am is a reasonable time. With my perpetual fear of conflict (or contact) with the neighbors, I wait until 9:30 am on Monday through Saturday and have an 11 am start time for the Sunday sleepers.

Apparently the junior jackass behind me (physically in the neighborhood, not behind me in my bed, that would be awkward because he could see what I was typing), would advocate for a 6 am start time, for this is when I was first awoken to the steady popping sound of his staple gun alerting me that my slumber had come to an end.

I desperately want to go over there and say something about the block charter, but I don't believe we have one. No, what we have is a little common fucking courtesy around here. It's all we've ever needed. Until today, I guess. Also, if this is a chicken coop this man is building, and something in my soul tells me it is, all I have to say is "no got dang way."


I just got off the phone after a 45-minute conversation with the mother of a student at my institution. Her daughter was raped by a "friend" when she was a first-year student, then later became the victim of a truly bizarre and intense-sounding series of stalking incidents. She (the Mom) called ostensibly to ask about what resources and advocacy we provided -- and we did talk about that...but mostly she just wanted to talk about and process the situation.

I will confess that over the years I have expressed some less-than-sympathetic sentiments about parental involvement in undergraduate students' lives. In fact, just yesterday I was decrying (again) the fact that we include parents in the orientation program for incoming first-year students. I have written elsewhere about my office's role in presenting information on sexual assault during the parent's orientation-- and how much I hate doing it. I am now prepared to soften my position on this. Yes, it's absolutely true that the "helicopter parent" phenomenon is out of control. As faculty I despised getting calls from parents (and actually developed an appreciation for FERPA as something more than just an anti-union tool for administrators bargaining with grad employees). I know my student affairs colleagues feel the same way; they tell me they deal with parents on an almost daily basis, which still floors me.

But I can see now that it is possible for a parent to be an effective and supportive advocate on their child's behalf -- and that this can happen in a way that is not controlling, disempowering, or infantilizing. This woman was amazing. Her daughter is lucky to have her. Whoa. Even though talks like this make it hard to focus, they certainly do provide motivation: time to get back to work so I don't have to hear stories like this about someone else's daughter...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And further relationship advice

11. Women, older or otherwise < /end lame running gag >, don't particularly care for narcissistic jerks. - Watch more free videos

[h/t Amanda]

bauhaus barry?

thanks to meaningful distraction for an aesthete's look at all this.

end of Triptych

"The very distinctiveness of pubic-service labor puts it in an invidious position, however. In fighting public-expenditure cuts, it defends the public interest; in defending its own wages and conditions, it pitches itself against the public interest. This uneasy position makes public-service labor an easy target for right-wing detractors, for, as noted above, during economic crises, public-service unions are used as scapegoats for the political Right.”- Whyeda Gill-Mclure: 2007 Fighting Marketization. Labor Studies Journal 32(1):41-59.


(Neoliberalism as such) maintains that employment protections and wage rigidities are not needed. Given this trend, teachers' unions are in a double bind in this neoliberal climate. They are fighting for fair contracts with livable wages and working conditions in the face of budget cuts to the public sphere as well as trying to remain integral in a climate of increasingly privatized approaches to education reform.
- from Noel Anderson, Hostile Takeover: Antiunionism and the Neoliberal Politics of Urban School Reform in New York in Working USA, June 2006: 225-243

How are you supposed to be a social movement and a bargaining unit at the same time? Especially when there are all these Democrats to canvass for?

Letter Carriers, Boom!

Middle East Trip, Schmiddle Meat Strip! The Letter Carriers have endorsed Barry Obama. I don't blame them one bit, personally.

Tell me honestly. Don't you enjoy how much attention the labor movement draws during election season? We're just a bunch of candidate-endorsing mothereffers, ain't we?
What's that? Ballot Initiatives? We'll sponsor the crap outta those, Jack! We've got "Vote No" frames and "Vote No" campaigns that'd make Jackson-Lewis belch nervously.

Another Sort of "Difficult Transition"

Speaking of "women of a certain age" (which we seem to be doing quite a bit of thanks to wobblie's the MSM's obsession with all things MILF and cougar-ish), I want to raise a question about "older women" and Facebook. As some of you know from previous exchanges with me, I have a tolerate/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the Facebooks. I established a profile there grudgingly for work-related purposes: many of the programs we do at the Women's Center are geared toward undergraduate students, and Facebook is one of the most effective tools for reaching that population. I get that. And this gets at one of the primary things that bugs me about the whole discourse around who loves and who hates Facebook and why.

Let me state this as clearly as possible for the record: I do not dislike Facebook because I don't understand it. It's not over my head. I am not technologically illiterate. I am not John fucking McCain. The shitty little interface is simple in the extreme; there is nothing too "deep" or "complex" or technologically challenging about Facebook. In other words, I do not hate Facebook because I am "old." I am really, really fucking sick of having this conversation. I have been an early adopter of most "new technologies," so don't try to go there and say that maybe I am/will be late to "catch on." I am totally on board with the concept of social networking, so that's not it either. I spend as much time online as any of the twenty-somethings who live on the site; is it so inconceivable that there could be a reason other than my age to explain why I choose to spend that time on things other than Facebook?

I bring this up today because, despite my efforts to maintain a low profile, people from my non-work life--both past and present--keep finding me. I am trying to process what it means that in the past week I have become "friends" with my half-sister and both of my sisters-in-law, as well as the first guy I ever had sex with and our mutual best friend from high school. I am also "friends" with some of my former students. Do I like being able to keep up with these folks, in addition to the total strangers who have "friended" me in my role as an administrator at the Women's Center? Sure. I'm all for staying in touch and, in case you didn't know this about me, I have an extreme streak of voyeurism. So whatever, there's that. And you can message and chat with people and write on their wall and send them things. Woo. Because there don't exist any other technologies (or non-technological ways) of making any of that happen. Thank god for the Facebooks. Same goes for finding new ways to waste time at work (or wherever). Believe me, I was wasting plenty of time on online inanity before I discovered the wonder that is Facebook. So yeah, it's fine, but it ain't all that. I feel like I had the exact same conversation 12 or so years ago with all the people who flocked to AOL: Sure, you're online and there are some features there that seem handy, but that's one (similarly lame) interface and one way to do whatever it is you use the Internet for; it's not the end-all, be-all of (online) existence, for fuck sake.

Oh, and before I forget: stay the hell off my lawn! (Except for you. Yeah, you, the cute younger man. Wanna come over here and "poke" me? Rrrrawr!)

Difficult iPod Transitions

"Truckin' (live)" - Grateful Dead
"Fight for Your Right" - the Beastie Boys

There's no way to gracefully manage the transition from a mellow, early 70's jam (easing into "Nobody's Fault But Mine") to "Chung chuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnggggg... KICK IT!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer of the MILF

Is this the rollout of the 2008 "key electoral constituency"? Because I've gotta tell ya, if Chris Matthews starts analyzing how the critical cougar vote is going to break, I'm. Done.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Be yourself!

Seeing as how at least 60% of the OG bloggers and an indeterminate number of our readers find themselves as some part of the "older women and the younger men who love them" duality, I'm sure you will all be pleased to know that our (apparently growing) demographic has been targeted by the relationship anxiety industry for the next iteration of their stale relationship advice.

Speaking for the fellas, I'm sure it never occurred to us that maybe older women would appreciate our attentiveness and good personal hygiene.

Wherein wobs does his bit to smash patriarchy and other family news

Some of you may have noticed that I now refer to my family members by their first initials rather than their previous pseudonyms, ms. wobs and l'il wobs, as a means of recognizing their agency beyond being mere pawns in my strategy to replicate my genes and ensure that my property, such as it is, is passed on to an heir.

All that's left to do is sit back and watch the patriarchy crumble. Next week, tune back in as I initiate the fall of capitalism by swearing to buy only second-hand items.

In other family news, an interview with T. was recently featured at the City Paper blog. I'm very proud of her, and you should go visit her biz blog and let her know that she rocks.


So, if you haven't noticed (and there really isn't a reason that you should have), I've been kind of AWOL around here lately, mostly due to the "relaxing" summer running me ragged. I hope to make it up to you in the coming weeks before I go on vacation, when I really won't give a flying fuck that I'll be nowhere near the innerwebs.

So to begin my penance, I proffer you this epic PRM of all things George Clinton and George Clinton related. Warning: these videos should not be viewed by those with heart conditions, acrophobia, or congenital whiteness. People with hip problems should consult a doctor before subjecting themselves to the funk. The OG is in no way responsible for any injuries incurred while getting your groove on. Please view responsibly.

"Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give up the Funk)"

Holy shit, that was good. Plus, I love the shot of the horn section at around 4:50. I wonder what it was like to be "the white guy" in Parliament?

"Maggot Brain"

What's that, you say? Your mind is blown? Best that we ground you with some more protracted ass-shaking, courtesy of "Dr. Funkenstein"

OMG. I really cannot get enough of this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008