Still Plans to Perform Full DJ Set at After-Mass VIP Party
(Note: Original blog-post head changed from "Headline of the Day" to "He Was Born to MC" to make the joke, uh, funnier.)
I rarely do this about any show, but here goes: Unrest sounded great last night, particularly for a band that barely plays anymore. They mostly stuck to BPMs from "Imperial F.F.R.R.," and that's all right with me. (Don't believe that Amazon link — Teen Beat has it back in stock as a remastered edition with extra tracks & whatnot.) The excellent simplicity of the songs (as noted by Kirkpatrick) might be the key — it's all guitar/bass/drums/vocals, and nothing fancy at that. But those 13-year-old songs definitely hold up.
Man, I can only imagine what the funnel cloud must've looked like to all the burnouts in the general Venice Beach area. Imagine exhaling a bong hit, and then looking up to see the skies roiling around a cone of smoke. Now that's some righteous cheeba, yo.
Good clean fun from The Futureheads last night at the 9:30 club. I was a little disappointed that they don't attempt a Jam cover as part of their live set (whaddya expect, I guess, from a band trying to cut its own post-punk path), but they did do their version of the Television Personalities' "Picture of Dorian Gray." Apparently the 'Heads love the TPs (not that I knew anything about "quite possibly the finest cult band in the UK" before last night). Highlights: "Meantime," "Man Ray" and that one where they go "uh, oh oh/uh, oh oh."
Yeah, so Josh Smith took the dunk contest, which probably wasn't much of a surprise if you've seen any of his recent highlights on "Sportscenter." The dude jumps like his legs are fueled by raw testosterone. I'm still waiting for somebody to try a "cannonball" dunk, where they'd take off and pull their limbs and the ball inward until the last second. Too many of these guys use their dangling legs to help rotate their arms and torsos for power dunks -- but we've seen all that before. Why not add some wacky stilo to the process? Go at the rim like a tucked-up Chinese gymnast, then reach out and stuff the ball at the last second. You can let your legs hang after you've grabbed the rim.
This weekend's more interesting up-and-comer might've been middleweight Jermain Taylor, who stuck it to Daniel Edouard. It looked easy. The Bernard Hopkins/Howard Eastman fight, meanwhile, had an air of inevitability. Hopkins-Taylor needs to happen.
And, damn if it isn't nice to have a giant tray of homemade tiramasù in the fridge. Much thanks to Flinkamania and the Kitten for leaving that nugget behind.
Another GarageBand beat: Diesel Dance (2.3MB MP3). Whenever I work on a track, the bottom end always lives so brightly and cleanly in the software itself, but by the time the auto-mixdown and the MP3 compression are done, it sounds like somebody stuffed an old sock into the woofer. Oh well.
If you've ever read an essay, blog post, academic paper or 'zine article that touches on these ideas, let me know. If not, maybe I'll elaborate later. OK, here goes: In "Star Wars" Episode IV, Luke Skywalker and the rebels, essentially, are terrorists. The raid on the Death Star is infiltration by stateless jihadis. They work all the cost-effective angles; they are motivated by an ancient religion; they rely, in part, on a vast underground network of shadowy thieves and rogues. Yeah, sure, they actually have enough resources to create an armada of spaceships, but it's cleverness and adaptability that give them victory. I realize, of course, that taking such an analogy to its limits would mean the Empire does not comprise imperialist Nazis, but rather postmodern Western society. I'm not sure it works at that point, but Luke did come from a sandy planet.
How to get some righteous jetlag: Fly to Scotland on a Friday-night-into-Saturday-morning flight. Stay up until about midnight local time Saturday, drinking local scotch and chatting with old friends. Attend a wedding on Sunday, and because of the fun & excitement, stay up until well after midnight. Wake up around 8 a.m. Monday to catch the first flight out of town. Spend the next 16 hours in airplanes or airports.
Yeah, I know, it wasn't smart, but it was the only way for me to pull it off. I will say this, though: Two nights at the Marcliffe in Aberdeen were well worth the money. The staff was unfailingly nice, and the wedding/reception itself (held onsite) was low-key and highly pleasurable. (Dinner at the Cults Hotel on Saturday night was tasty, too. Yeah, I had chicken stuffed with haggis.)
So I offer thanks, congratulations and good luck to John & Kerry. Weddings full of kilt-clad dudes are always a good thing.
By Monday, though, I was both burned out and wound up. The Amsterdam-to-Detroit leg of the trip produced some disconcerting moments. Preface: Michael Stipe just did a "Dear Superstar" interview in Blender where he talks about bawling like a baby at a really cliched movie while on a long flight. He blamed the dehydration, loneliness and disorientation. When I read it last week, I thought it was funny.
Now I know where he was coming from. I've never taken a really long flight without company (Tha Mrs. couldn't come for work-related reasons), but this one was a doozy. I was generally fine -- I had an aisle seat for easy access to the crapper, and I was able to sleep a little bit. But I watched "Friday Night Lights" (pretty good, if only for its pace, top-notch gridiron staging and excellent use of Public Enemy, Refused and The Stooges) and "Ladder 49" (marginally lame, but not horrible, in a "Mystic River"-lite kinda way, which is either a sarcastic quasi-compliment or faint praise, or both). Both flicks have serious heartstring-yanking qualities, if you're susceptible to that sort of thing. I'm usually not.
But on that plane, I was a total weakling. I kept getting choked up during both movies. I didn't shed any tears, and I didn't make any audible sobbing sounds. But I was on the edge a lot. With "Friday Night Lights" the emotional connection is at least somewhat concrete -- I, too, was an undersized high school football player in 1988, but not in a football-mad Texas town ... and not on a good team. As for "Ladder 49," I am not a fireman, and I'm not sure I ever liked Joaquin Phoenix.
Conclusion: People who cry at movies are probably dehydrated, lonely and disoriented.
With a few minor modifications to the setting and cultural trappings, the NYT's story about 50 Cent in Connecticut could be about Dick Cheney in Washington.
Complete coverage of my Scotland trip coming soon. Or at least eventually.
Droppin' outta formation for a few days. Catch y'all next week. Your mission: Find something to squeeze on Monday.
And for the record, I guess I'm the 794th most important rock critic in the country, at best, if the voting rolls for the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll are to be taken seriously. Someday they'll find me, and I'll be like, "kiss my ass."
Somebody just brought up "ants on a log," meaning the childhood snack that involves a stick of celery, a layer of peanut butter and a sprinkling of raisins. Apparently cream cheese -- or, if you are a multinational food company, chemically enhanced cheese-like paste -- can be substited for peanut butter.
I do not remember ever chowing on this, but I also wasn't the kind of kid who needed to be tricked or coerced into eating green vegetable matter.
I think my favorite childhood snack was a bowl of Doritos. Miraculously, my triglyceride and bad-cholesterol levels are perfectly normal these days.
1. Bush's Big Book of Money Numbers is merely a proposal. It has no direct powers. Congress receives it, people blather about it, and it becomes a doorstop or a computer-monitor booster in most offices. Then the real budgetary business gets going.
2. Sometime in the spring, the House and Senate each try to enact budget resolutions that set money-spendin' boundaries for the upcoming fiscal year (in this case, fiscal 2006). The budget resolutions also can set the table for hott tax-cut action. Tax provisions that are addressed in the budget resolution can have an easier ride to passage. Don't ask why or how. You don't wanna know.
3. This is key: The resolutions are non-binding (i.e. they don't have the force of law), and in some years, neither the House nor Senate actually pass one.
4. That's OK, though, because the real C.R.E.A.M. business happens in the Appropriations Committees. Taking their cue from the budget resolutions (or not), these esteemed panels decide how to dole out the "discretionary" portion of the budget — the spending that hasn't been made "mandatory" by previous laws. A huge chunk o' the budget is mandatory, meaning that when the money comes in, it has to go automatically back out. Social Security and Medicare are the biggest examples. Discretionary spending is generally more sexy: fighter planes, science experiments, secret agents, foreign aid, federal prisons, regulatory agencies, government salaries, and so on. Congressmen love to fight over this stuff.
5. But more importantly, they love to get funding for their own special pet projects into the 13 annual appropriations bills (newstypes also call these "spending bills"). This is the "pork" you're always hearing about: highway rest stops, grants to businesses, scholarship programs, you name it. A million here, a million there.
6. If the president doesn't like any of the appropriations bills, he can veto them. That's where his budget proposal actually kinda matters. He can be like, "Uh, yeah, I like, asked for that back in February, and like, y'know, you guys coulda put it in there. But it's not there, so, like, here's my veto." Go find an American government textbook if you don't know what can happen next. I'm not runnin' a remedial program here.
So there ya have it. Pay your taxes.
Got a few things to attend to this weekend. Need to start focusing the mind now. I channel my old roommate Teddy's parody of "Machine Head" by Sister Rossdale & His Mates: Breathe in, breathe out, breath in, breath out ... now you're breathin'. On Sunday, me and Tha Mrs. will make a quick quasi-pilgrimage to behold the Eagles game on friendly turf. I expect only a good time, but I suspect the game will be the chief supplier of niceness. Trust me on that.
From a WSJ article about useless tsunami aid arriving in Sri Lanka:
The recent outpouring of tsunami support has brought with it a mountain of unusable stuff from the Western world. That includes cozy winter hats, Arctic-weather tents, cologne and thong underwear. Dubbed "frustrated cargo" by aid workers -- because it often has nowhere to go -- these misfit items are gathering dust in warehouses and creating major headaches for relief workers in the field.
Mounds of donated clothes litter the coastal highway south of Colombo. Bottled water from European mountain streams is flowing freely, raising concern about empties littering the jungle. Medicines that are no longer needed, such as morphine, are feared to be loose in the country. ...
... Western clothes are a particular nuisance. Although the nation's coastal regions have an average temperature of about 80 degrees and a preference for modest dress, aid groups are receiving sweaters and women's dress shoes. Much of the clothing arrives used and in bad condition. That is a major problem, aid workers say, because some Sri Lankans fear used clothing has been taken from dead bodies.
Sounds like they need to start their own version of the Compton Swap Meet.
From an article about Dustin Hoffman in EW's Special Double Issue with Johnny Carson on the cover:
STRAW DOGS 1971
Ultraviolence artiste Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch) hired Hoffman to play a mild American mathematician who moves to a small Cornish village with his shapely British wife (Susan George). Attacked by locals who have already raped the missus, he's driven to murder. Dubbed a "fascist work of art" by Pauline Kael, it was banned from video release in the U.K. until 2002.
If there was a big fight, like Ali and Frazier, and I could get ringside, I was there, enjoying the violence vicariously...[so] I wanted to [show my character] kill in self-defense and enjoy it I wanted to find that part of myself. I had to bash somebody's head in using a poker. I remember asking the producer--we were up in Cornwall--I said, "I want coconuts. That's what I want to hit off camera. I don't want to hit a pillow." And the day of [shooting], I was upset, because they only had two or three coconuts. I said, "We're gonna be doing 30 takes!" I remember Peckinpah coming back after the rushes practically yippy-ing, because a piece of coconut was in the frame [on one take] and he used it because it looked like brains.
WAG THE DOG 1997
The Oscar buzz that year said the actor award would go to Jack Nicholson for As Good as It Gets. So Hoffman, surprised to be in the race at all for playing a florid, robe-wearing movie producer-- turned--political propagandist--a performance modeled in good part on Hollywood player Robert Evans--dreamed of truly enjoying his seventh nomination to date.
Getting even is part of being an artist. You get even with what you think the lies of society are by telling the truth. And I wanted to get even for this constant thing of people, when they lose, getting up and going "Bravo!" to the [winner]. It's just not natural. You can still like the work, but why, publicly, do you have to be seen putting on a face?... That's what these awards do. They make losers out of artists who've done wonderful work So when they announced Nicholson, I wanted to [rip open] my tuxedo shirt and have a T-shirt underneath that said "Aaaaaw, f---." Or "Aaaaaw, s---." Because the camera would be on me. And my wife talked me out of it. Thank God I have my wife, because if I didn't, I'd be in jail.
I hear ya on that, bro.
Maybe all y'all geeks-like-me can help on this: The batteries on my iMac wireless keyboard were dying, so I flipped it over and replaced them. Afterward, though, the keyboard didn't work anymore. No matter what I did (turning the power switch off for awhile, turning the computer off for awhile, doing those two things in different sequences, etc.), I couldn't get Bluetooth to recognize it. The mouse works fine, so I know the general Bluetoothiness of my computer is healthy. I called Apple, and they ultimately couldn't help me (although the dude had me do these weird APPLE-OPTION-O-F and APPLE-OPTION-P-R key combos during some of the troubleshooting logins).
The annoying part is that there are two logins for the computer, so if I boot up, I don't get a desktop, I get a login window. Thus, getting to the Bluetooth diagnostic software is impossible, and I can't boot from a CD because I'd have to hold down the C key to do that.
I sprung for a $30 cheapo USB/OS X-compatible keyboard today, just as a backup until I can get the wireless one over to the Apple store. Of course, the $12.99 cheapo keyboards at Staples only have old-school PS/2 connectors. Sons-a-bitches.