Friday, December 12, 2008

Not what was intended by nature

The skateboard video aesthetic was never meant to be applied to... golf:

for the record

i've listened to Dave Emory's anti-fascist research for more than a decade, and have written plenty about his importance to my "life of the mind," which is not to say his influence on my politics. that said, i think i've only ever forced his work on to jerobaim and angelor to any serious degree.

that said, during my tenure at the OG my taste in "alternative" political theory has trended towards the libertarian and/or union-busting. for those (between/among) us who are looking for a new flavor of off-the-rails spoken prose...well welcome to Dave Emory in the BHO era. You might be familiar with some of these Rezko-Syria-Norquist-Terror associations, but never before from a nominally pro-Obama point of view. from the most recent of the web texts that now accompany Emory's weekly broadcasts/podcasts:

This program explores a web of associations in Chicago that connect Obama to the urban political machine of the Daley family and–more importantly–to a milieu of slumlords who’ve generated much of their wealth at the expense of poor African-Americans. (As disturbing as this connection is, Mr. Emory stresses that this is not necessarily to be held against Obama. Dave opined that no one can ever become President or even a major party candidate without associating with some pretty unsavory individuals.) Of greater significance for our purposes is the fact that one of the principals in this slumlord network–Syrian-born Antoine “Tony” Rezko described by some as Obama’s political godfather–has links to the Bush administration, GOP string-puller Karl Rove and to people associated with the Carlyle Group. In addition to Rezko’s links to the very Republican elements who are ranged on the opposite side of the aisle from Obama, Rezko has links to terrorist elements as well. (This is explored at greater length in FTR #655.) Interestingly–possibly significantly–Rezko’s elevation into the ranks of Illinois politicos came courtesy of Talat Othman, a close associate of the Bush family and administration, as well as the man who interceded on behalf of the individuals and insitutions targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.

See Emory's full-blown and fancy new website for way, way, way more info.

(horn) friday nite Sprites

cards' acoustic "fix it"

i was captivated by this performance when i first saw it and now it's available on le youtube, hoorah!

some thoughts:
1) sad how post-Unplugged acoustic rock situations require drummers to try to "Rock" with brushes. it's an emasculating set-up (even for ladies), akin to "Rock Saxophone" and "Standing-Up Keyboard Rocker." Certainly the winter hat makes Brad seem like an approachable potential dormmate, though.
2) i'm showing this vid as testimony to my grandiose claims about the Cards' vocals. but Damn if neal casal's tiny-framed glasses and face-squelching aren't a little uncomfortable to look at. he plays unbelieveable comp gtr on this song, tho.
3) i wish bill ayers had taken a page out of ry-ry's book and dressed up like 1951 Ginsberg for his Hardball interview.

Unionization as Stimulus

Ezra Klein joins in our speculation about the chances of getting the Employee Free Choice Act folded into BHO's early, massive stimulus bill for 2009:
In 10 years, you can imagine the history being written either way. You can imagine EFCA being rammed through atop the stimulus package, and it ascends into the pantheon of crucial changes that would never have survived our system if not for the reformist opportunities of a national emergency. That is, after all, how the National Labor Relations Act passed in the first place. There's precedent here. But you can also imagine the stimulus bill getting bogged down in a fight over worker ballots, with business interests spending hundreds of millions on the campaign, and the Obama administration suffering a humiliating early defeat as they find themselves unable to overwhelm a Republican filibuster. In that world, EFCA will look like Clinton's damaging effort to allow gays in the military. Like with most policies, the question is passage. If EFCA is tried and passed, it will be a great victory, If it's tried and failed, it will be a deep wound.
Will Barry step up to the plate? Is it even doable with the threat of filibuster...My teeth are gonna be chattering for a long time over this. Those congressional hearings are going to give me seizures, I just know it.

"this is rock history/narcissism and pedophilia"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How do you prepare for the world's largest tailgate party?

I'll be honest - I'm excited that I'll be able to go with T. and E. downtown on January 20 for the Inauguration (whether we'll be watching at the Mall or staking out a spot for the parade is still up in the air). The level of security that's going to be on display is to be expected. It's the rest of the wackiness that's making the event seem like a Dead lot for straight people:

Sgt. Robert LaChance, a U.S. Park Police spokesman, said that it is "not legal to camp on the Mall" and that tents would be banned.

Raise your hand if you were wondering if there's anything more pleasant than sleeping outside in the middle of January in DC.

Unlike at the Capitol or on the parade route, backpacks, chairs and strollers will be permitted on the Mall, he said. People can also bring food and coolers there.

Raise your hand if you were wondering how you were going to keep your tasty beverage ice-cold in the middle of January in DC.

In case of disaster, the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency plans to use a new loudspeaker system on the Mall to tell people what to do, officials said.

Really? It sounds like I'm about to see more cops in a roughly six hour period than I've ever seen in my entire life. What sort of disaster could possibly befall us?

What's that?

Still to be determined: how many portable toilets will be set up for the events.


ryan adams & the cardinals - cardinology

ryan adams & the cardinals, cardinology

( editor's note. do you know the Billy Joel song, "The Stranger?" Do you understand the sense - it goes back to Kafka, at least - in which various forms of mistaken identity result in our inability to distinguish ourselves and our desire from our antagonists? It has to do with all sorts of freud/lacan/etc suspicions about the ultimate ineffeable lust/death horizon. )

Anyway, here's what i'd say in regards to Ryan Adams. It is perfectly possible to write great songs without writing good lyrics. It is also true that the work of one of our preeminent songwriters can be filled with horrible lines. It is above all true that our best gtr rock needn't brandish "meaningful" words.

Yes, this is a magnificent, groovy, stony rock album. The Cardinals are the best thing ever to have happened to Ryan Adams - Neal Casal (gtr) and Jon Graboff (steel) work to make him a better gtr player, and even manage to cultivate a collective band-persona that undermines Adams' own tendencies towards (justified and unjustifiable) solipsism. Above all, they allow for his seemingly-contrived-but-actually-very-self-evident blend of grateful dead/faces/smiths/sonic youth/replacements. what do all of these rock groups have in common? They write memorable verse-choruses that are shot through with and defined by guitars even more than their sing-song-y lyrical qualities.

Now, this is not to say that the album doesn't benefit from its vocal component. regardless of the often vacuous words, the singing on the album is phenomenal. The harmonies are way more realized than on previous Cards albs, and Neal Casal is really foregrounded rather than sounding like just a backup guy.

Anywho, the songs can be lumped into roughly three seperate categories: Dead-ish, generic FM 70s and "modern."

Dead-ish: "Born Into a Light," "Evergreen," "Fix It," "Natural Ghost."
Generic 70s: "Let Us Down Easy," "Like Yesterday," "Stop."
"Modern Rock:" "Go Easy," "Magick," "Crossed Out Name," "Sink Ships."

Okay, so I've mentioned how awesome and sonic youth worship-y the Cardinals gtr tone is, right? It's just jammy, reverb-y Fender city (see the pic above.) The album recording retains this 'verb-y, live-sounding stereo gtr jangle vibe, often over- or under-laying a tasteful Garcia-ish acoustic strum-pick. Graboff's steel is often ambient, supplanted by keys or otherwise reserved - rarely is it deployed in the strict "country" sense we'd expect usually. And the rhythym section stops and starts adeptly and interestingly, in a way that reminds me of Mike Heidorn on the first 3 Son Volt records, that are herky-jerky, but always stopping and starting in 1-2-3-4 clowckwork installments. Does that make sense? Brad Pemberton of the Cards is a great drummer and seems like the dude in the band I'd most like to have a grilled cheese avec.

I've also already mentioned how much I was enamored with the packaging of this album, and its accompanying 7" and t-shirt. Lemme also mention this about the mp3 download that came with the 180-gram LP: the mp3 is a direct rip from the fucking vinyl! you hear the crackles! that impresses the crap outta me, and it should impress you too. 2008 is the year that mp3s and fancy vinyl tag-teamed compact discs to effing death!

Anyway, song by song in the key of post(ph)vainne:
  1. born into a light: this follows in the tradition of the awesome "Goodnight Rose" from Easy Tiger. if Cold Roses was clearly sort of going for a Terrapin Station vibe, 2008 Ryan is really feeling things more of a bearded, Reckoning-ish way. Great song, bad lyrics. "Keep the faith," Ryan? Really?
  2. go easy: bad lyrics, great singing. short, pretty, Cards come in and get out.
  3. fix it: great single. great swanky disco strut. great neal casal guitar break. one of the songs i will remember when i remember 2008. inoffensively carole king-y lyrics here.
  4. magick: this song is absolutely abysmal and reminiscent of the lamentable rock and roll album. ryan actually sings "later on we hit the mall" in this song. gripping, i know. i mean, it's cool that the guy lives in a bubble and decides not to write songs about Bolivian tin miners... but this is va-pid. the only way i can get through this song is imagining that it's Trefz Minx (/evil r+b) singing the "let your body move" part of the chorus. this is a phenomenally bad entry into the "New Wave Ryan" canon, and totally inappropriate alongside the other songs.
  5. cobwebs: now this i love. 'intro is the most (new school-) sonic youth-y part ever in a Ryan Adams song. as lyrics go, the haunting chords on the "if i fall/will you catch me?" make it more acceptable than it reads.
  6. let us down easy: wow, this is the Cardinals' version of Magnolia's epic "Hammer Down," which is itself a re-statement of the great Band/Crazy Horse Woodstock balladry school. how do you like the Casal/Ryan vocals here? hard to deny.
  7. crossed-out name: see, these lyrics are unbelievably emo and black-rimmed-glasses-wearing-y. but they actually pull it off, for my money! the problem is that my patience has been so stepped on with all of the less-fitting earlier new age/rich kid tripe that i cannot appreciate this small, good thing. sure i can, actually. but you get me, no?
  8. natural ghost: another high-point, for me, albeit the most blatantly kinda 80s-Dead-ish ballad. i love the guitar break, tho there's no solo and nothing really "happens." (pretty much tracks 5-8 amount to the "high-water mark" on the alb.)
  9. sink ships: this song is really boring until an uber-goth, uber-emo, uber-love is hell bridge turns us into a weird elevator shaft. it's a grand left turn.
  10. evergreen: not as silly as "Monkey and the Engineer," but at the same time it's a way more tasteless tiptoe through the tulips than anything this side of Eugene's lavender fleece factory. are you really singing to a tree on this, ryan? i thought you were mister death metal -sylvia plath guy. there is a billy corigan-like privileged whimsy when it comes adams' selection of motifs on this album. if Ryan ever finds Jesus, we're all effed.
  11. like yesterday: boom! this is the song with the 70s-sounding, interlocking/harmony gtr leads! be-au-ti-ful singing! what a treat!
  12. stop: now here's the unkindest cut of all. this is an arresting, well-written song with lean and clean lyrics and an effortlessly everyday, humane theme. it's also wrist-slittingly sad. 'so weird... after so many songs about nothing or songs that are just doused in sentimental abstractions, songs housed in hackneyed architecture... we end on this grown-up a note?
And that's how we leave it. I can bitch all i want about everything about ryan adams that doesn't directly relate to my listening to his songs... But when i'm listening i'm pretty enthralled and pretty forgiving of his trespasses. his sonics and his phonics and his sins are endlessly understandable to me. And his band's tone is my favorite one. Again, not all great songwriters - let alone great singers - have necessarily always written good lyrics. That's as silly as expecting athletes (or artists) to be adept at politics!

So long as the Cardinals remain the irresistible rock guitar force that they are, and so long as ryan adams and neal casal keep wrapping their throats around each other like lovers wrap around their nude legs... Well, there's no need for Ryan Adams to say anything "literary" or even "sonorous," let alone "true" (sic). I mean, all Van Morrison does these days is scat, right? That's what you can do when you've got the voice, right?

I guess i just don't quite understand why ryan adams gets a book deal, tho i can guess i understand why he'd wanna try to be a novelist (wouldn't you?) isn't this going to distract him from making me alternately Rumors, Planet Waves and Goo-influenced FM sounds?

NY Sen. Chasepack: Fran Drescher

this is getting wild, child.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two (musical) notes

1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I missed most of the developments in modern rock from roughly mid-1994 until about late 1998, for reasons which will shortly become apparent. I'm currently in the process of trying to catch up on that period, which is also coinciding with my re-discovery of Sonic Youth. I had followed the band avidly through high school and up through Dirty, but after that I kind of lost track until Lips dropped their very good Rather Ripped on me a couple years back.

At any rate, I recently bought another copy of Daydream Nation to replace the cassette that had long since disappeared into the ether, and that has set me off on a mini-SY binge that has ultimately led me to 1995's Washing Machine. My question to you (or at least those of you who are Sonic Youth aficionados) is why the fuck haven't you repeatedly been telling me that this is a must-own album? The dissonant experimentalism crossed with a songcraft and, well, warmth has made it damn near impossible for me not to dial it up daily. I'll put it this way - Washing Machine just replaced Daydream Nation in the CD changer. And you know that says something.

2. The reason I missed out on the mid-90s musically was due to my obsession with Phish and Phish-related music. In retrospect, it's not something with which I'm particularly proud. These days, it's hard for me to get excited about them. Their studio albums are famously blasé, and even the copious live recordings I've managed to acquire over the years have lost their ability to convey the "you had to have been there" vibe of a Phish show.

The one exception to that has been my meh audience recording of the December 30, 1997 show at Madison Square Garden which I've thrown on from time to time. From beginning to end, the show crackles with the quintessential energy that propelled the best shows the band performed. From the surprise opener of Robert Palmer's "Sneakin' Sally thru the Alley" to an epically funky "AC/DC Bag" kicking off the second set to the scorching half-hour encore, the show is a gem. These days, I don't typically recommend any Phish recordings to anyone unless they ask. But now that they've released a dank soundboard/audience matrix of this show in their Live Phish series, I'm saying that if there's one piece of Phish to own, this is the one.

Meanwhile, in clusterfucks that matter

Don't get me wrong - I love watching corrupt morons implode under the weight of their own arrogance and stupidity. But the media black holes created by the massive gravitational pull of sheer dumbassitudity tend to swallow up more... minor matters.

For example, you might remember that a couple of months ago, some financial institutions asked us to loan them a ten-spot or some other completely non-consequential amount of dough to cover some bills until they could cash a few checks. I believe that we were given some assurances that they would, and I quote, "totally pay us back."

So how's that going?

Lawmakers focused on a warning in a report last week from the Government Accountability Office, represented at the hearing by Gene Dodaro, the acting comptroller general. In that report, Mr. Dodaro’s office found that the Treasury does not yet have the tools in place to ensure that banks that are receiving federal money are lending it to consumers and small businesses.

“The anecdotal evidence is still overwhelming that there are people who think they are good borrowers who can’t get loans,” Mr. [Barney] Frank said.

I see. They still haven't paid what they owe, and we're not quite sure what they actually did with the money. Maybe the check's in the mail. Maybe they spent it on hookers and blow. Maybe the put it down on the bookshelf, then went and got completely baked and then totally forgot where they put it - hey, it happens to the best of us.

Mr. Frank warned him that Congress was unlikely to approve the next $350 billion installment in the overall $700 billion bailout program unless it was convinced the Treasury was effectively measuring lending by participating banks. To that end, Mr. Frank said, he has agreed to a request from lawmakers that he summon bank executives to explain how they are using federal money.

What a novel idea! Let's ask Stony McForgetsalot what he did with the tenner we loaned him! Brilliant!

In response, [Deputy Treasury Secretary] Kashkari drew a distinction between the conditions imposed on failing institutions as they were being rescued and strings tied to the money being injected into healthy banks to strengthen the financial system.

Whoa there - you're telling us some of those guys didn't actually need the money? That they were good to go, but just thought they'd ask to see if we'd be generous? Because you know, we could've really used that cash for, I dunno, food...

Mr. Kashkari, while polite, nevertheless stoutly defended the department’s efforts to stabilize the financial system, saying that the nation had avoided a major bank failure and that credit markets had shown some improvement.

Well la-dee-freakin'-da. They borrow our cash, do something with it, even though they have nothing to show for it, and then want us to be impressed that they didn't have to sell off their sweet Wii video game system. Yet.

The committee also heard from Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas and a member of the Congressional oversight panel monitoring the bailout, and Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and the panel’s chairwoman.

The panel’s initial report, posing a set of questions it intended to explore as it studied the bailout program, was delivered on Wednesday without Mr. Hensarling’s endorsement.

He told the committee he did not endorse the report because he was not sure the oversight panel was working as he thought it should, though he commended it for its efforts. He wondered if “every panel member has the resources and rights necessary to conduct effective oversight.”

We're totally not getting our money back, are we?

it's always more than JUST a horn, folks

Bugs & Cranks » CC Sabathia is Dead to Me
this just sucks. the Yankees are the very worst thing in all of American sports.

NW Republican: GW Bush getting blowback for his UAW bail-out scheme
don't forget about NW Republican, people. as the bailout verges on coming down, NW Republican sees the worst in Bush:
Perhaps it should be called the "UBaBL" (Union Bailout and Bush Legacy) bill?

President Bush is pushing back against Republicans AGAIN and siding up with Democrats (it has been the story of his administration) to try to push for ANOTHER taxpayer bail-out.

Of course this bail-out scheme is the United Auto Workers scheme and Bush/Reid are asking for about $14 billion more dollars to funnel to the auto worker union thug pockets.
yep, there goes President Bush and Big Labor again! You know how they are when they get together. (you can really see the Joni Mitchell influence on this post.)

Inside Obama's Idea Factory in Washington - TIME
the Center for American Progress, ladies and germs. I'd really like a copy of that 1,000 page "transition" document they rolled about after Election Day. Help a wonker/(wanker?) out, Wobs? I know you go to all those luncheons that I drool over when C-Span re-runs 'em.

Another Venezuelan Labor Leader is Assassinated in Aragua |
Another trade union leader, Simon Caldera, was assassinated Tuesday in the state of Aragua, in Venezuela.

This is the fourth assassination of a union leader in this central state in less than a week, and occurred amidst protests from labor unions regarding the assassinations. Caldera was the president of the pro-Chavez Bolivarian Construction and Industry Union.

The shots were fired from a moving vehicle while Caldera and two other trade unionists drove on a national highway. Caldera was shot in the head and the two others were injured in the attack. The gunmen fled the scene without robbing the victims.

The government has yet to issue a statement on the latest killing. On Tuesday, Venezuela's Interior and Justice Ministry announced that it arrested a suspect in the three previous murders, which the head of that ministry Tarek El Aissami called a "hired homicide."
Lazerus: Badiou Amid the Cracks and Gaps of Marxism « Kasama
kudos to Kasama. More than any other explicitly marxist - let alone Maoist - blog I've found, Kasama really tries to engage recent theory in a non-dogmatic, inquisitive and agnostic way. With his Althusserian past, lifetime of leftist activism and his radical appropriation of mathematical set theory....uh, Alain B. is a force to be reckoned with. In particular Badiou's "The Communist Hypothesis" really influenced my thinking re: electoral politics this Summer.

Bill Ayers, Chris Matthews, Hardball

i am really interested to see what you people think of this little word-prance between these two dandies.

one thing, and then, by all means go ahead and watch the thing and tell me what you think. just one thing:
  1. Couldn't Bill A. have slapped on a collared shirt for the big national television interview? Or is it somehow integrally important to him and his vibe that he appear to be "keeping it real.?" (Of course after the interview the pundits got all snobby about Bill's demeanor and I quickly sprung to his defense.)

Jackson Five

Oooh baby give me one more chance...
Josh at TPM notes:
It's looking increasingly like Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., was truly uninvolved in Rod Blagojevich's alleged Senate-seat-for-sale scheme, other than expressing the usual interest in getting the appointment. Most telling was the report from Jackson's lawyer today that the feds called Jackson as Blagojevich was being arrested to give him a heads up that the arrest was happening and that Jackson might see his name in the news. If this all bears out and Jackson turns out to be a victim here, too, it's hard not to feel pretty bad for the guy. Yeah, yeah, he's an experienced pol and a big boy and all that. But still a pretty a raw deal thanks to Blagojevich

I read some speculation (can't find now) that it was the end of Jesse Jr's career...he might not be moving to the senate, but his house seat is not in any danger...

I loved Obama's " I would give my appreciation" bit re: his preference for a replacement...priceless... and Blogo's rant afterward probably clinched the deal "Blagojevich was overheard complaining at one point that Obama's people are "not going to give me anything except appreciation." He added: "(Expletive) them.""...

It was interesting that BofA caved to pressure on the Republic window and doors strike, offering a loan for their severance package right after Blogo's call for boycott of them...then he got Fitzed....

MR for Car Czar?

Mitt Romney, anybody? I've almost totally lost touch with the "Trots for Romney" elements that co-edited the Prisonsheep, but I'm certain they have something to do with this whisper campaign. How else can one explain somebody like Ezra Klein entertaining the idea?

NY Senate chasepack news

the AFT's very own Randi Weingarten in on the list now?

(h/t Reihan Salam sur L'American Scene. Salam also dilly-dallies with Doug Henwood on the Dan La Botz/UAW episode of Behind the News. Is Reihan my fave conservo-blogo? Prolly. It's interesting to hear a conservative intellectual decrying the Right's tax cut fetish, that's for sure. Mebbe I'll send 'em a gratis copy of the solo alb.)

The Good Staffer: Was it Rahm who Dropped the Dahm?

Was it Rahm who dropped the dram on Gov. B?
Local Chicago press is reporting that Rahm Emanuel reported Blago after someone approached the Obama folks about who he wanted for the Senate seat. In other words, yes, Rahm may well be the good guy here.

The good guy is one way of looking at it. Another is that Rahm is smart, and ruthless. Blagojevich is legendarily corrupt and known to be under investigation. His willingness to reach out to the White House and try and embroil them suggested a willingness to compromise Obama and his presidency. So Rahm cut him down. It's reminiscent of nothing so much as Tony Soprano killing Christopher Moltisanti when Chris becomes a liability. Rahm may have been a key figured in getting Blagojevich elected, but he's not going to sit and watch Blagojevich compromise the rest of the party. This sort of strategic ruthlessness, incidentally, was the whole argument for hiring Rahm.
(h/t Firedoglake, via Ezra K.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Security, Freedom, Choice, etc.

Labor activists have always believed that union security prevents non-members from benefitting unfairly from the sacrifices they make to obtain fair wages and conditions. But union security has always had an even greater relevance for labor leaders because union building in the United States - with its extremely dynamic economy, its divided working class, and its business interests seemingly intransigently opposed to unionization - has made leaders all the more aware of the insecure nature of their organizations. For union officers, the ability to achieve some form of union security protected against employers or non-members undermining wage and labor standards. It also enhanced organizational stability, particularly financial stability; and most importantly, it made the threat of a strike much more potent. By freeing union leaders from these bedeviling problems, union security practices aimed to establish a stable power base for their organizations.

Grounded as it was in a power relationship, the controversy over union security could easily assume expansive conotations. When it did so, the discussion was not really over individual freedom - or the ethics of labor solidarity for that matter. The dispute instead resembled something akin to a debate about the desireable extent of union power in American society. When viewed from this perspective, the volatility of the subject and its keen concern to both unions and employers is easier to understand.

Monday, December 8, 2008

God's Love

allow yrself the 78 seconds it takes to see this, at some point. (this goes extra specially for you non-cable-television types.)

don't let this luscious, creepy little riblet pass you by. (the 30 second ad embedded herein aired during rachel maddow just now!)

i sincerely hope television advertising and "small business" continue in this zesty and/or fervent new direction. you?

On the Verge of a Bridge Loan, Pelosi Quotes Corker

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said negotiations were continuing with the White House, and lawmakers were hoping to create an auto industry that could thrive on its own — an effort she said would require concessions from management, labor, creditors and others.

"We call this a barbershop. Everybody's getting a haircut," Pelosi said.

(h/t: ap, by "ap" i mean the 'press association.' not the other AP.)

ah, and here's Corker's response to the proposed deal.

PrismShift: Inventory 2

MI-5 or Spooks, title depending on which side of the drink you're on. This is your slick, techno-laced representation of the 9/12 Anglo-American alliance. Quality acting and the writing fine. The show has also withstood quite a few major cast changes without "jumping the shark"or otherwise plummeting into the crap-realm. Certainly I don't like spies as much as I like cops or private eyes. But I certainly do like spies. (And wonky research spies, in particular. And government bureaucrats. And every other imaginable genre of "functionary.") Can you hear the laptop-based-drum-sequenced blips, yet? So what if, in addition to its being "good," the show is like 24 for fans of the Crystal Method?
  1. Bowie in Berlin. Where in the hell did my $0.99 copy of Station to Station go? Is it wrong of me to consider the I. Pop/D. Bowie work of this period to be "of a feather" with Lou Reed's contemporaneous Berlin?
  2. Grave Error and Death Bed (John Marshall Tanner novels) by Stephen Greenleaf. This series is another reshuffling of the CA private eye vibe, unfolding the San Francisco of them 1970s. Greenleaf/Tanner's politics certainly don't suck, but more importantly these are very sharp, deadpan stories. They help me to feel like a) I'm not alone in the universe, and b) someone hears my screams.
  3. The bleeping Neil Halstead album that completely has bleeping captivated me. Surprising to hear me fixate on acoustic-y wish-wash? i know, i know. esp in this cntxt:
    One night while in the studio with Neil Halstead a friend questioned him as to what kind of music he played. Neil's extremely thick beard turned into a smile as he said "Nylon Rock" before laughing and turning back to his beer. I don't think that description offered any clarity to the asker, but to me it seemed perfect: a self effacing term to help him deal with the fact that he, a former shoegazer, was making a solo record and his main weapon was simply a nylon string guitar and a couple of shakers.
  4. DC Vs. Mortal Combat Video Game that I have never played, will prolly never play. But I take great solace in knowing that somebody out there is getting to simulate my fantasy of a death bout between Raiden and whoever-the-crap. 2008, people!
    The series loves gruesome combat, but pines for the mainstream adulation. When games were less bloody, that was an easy balance to strike. Gouts of gore plus catchphrases ("Finish him!") and the allure of shocking hidden fatalities added up to massive sales and popularity. Now that those elements are commonplace, how to recapture the attention of old?

    Throw Batman into the mix, obviously. Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe mixes up the stable of MK fighters with heroes (Superman, Wonder Woman) and villains (the Joker, Catwoman) from DC's comic-book pantheon.
  5. quality time with uncle. and uncle's pronouncements on behalf of the Democratic party.
  6. Cards play-by-play and, more embarassingly, the solo ryan spew.
  7. Gone Baby Gone is le non-crap, so far as adaptations of Lehane novels go. Not so good as Mystic River, tho.
  8. The film criticism of Bruce Bennett for the NY Sun.
  9. The Shop Around the Corner by Ernest Lubisch. It's a lovely film to watch with a loved one, so I watched it (and A Holiday Affair) with my loved one on the morning of the dur-befur-yursturdur...Cripes, I love it, even though it was used as the script-skeleton for, shucks, You've Got Mail.

BHO on Occupation: Not Crap

See for yourself. This is meaningful, I think. So does Ezra K.

Here's hoping this inspires a hilarious revival of the ACORN-Alinsky shuffle from the Right. Goodness knows the UE deserves a place (between/among) those latter two.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Labor Sec Is Not Sebelius

h/t Ben Smith:
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, mentioned as a potential veep and then as a likely secretary of labor, e-mailed Kansas reporters that she's taking herself out of the mix, the Kansas City Star reports.

Her choice leaves unclear whether Obama will pick a prominent labor secretary — Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has also been mentioned — to speak for labor on the economic team, or a lower-profile one whose job could be largely to reorient the Department of Labor.