Saturday, December 30, 2006

we're a week late

but now ma's in her kerchief and I'm in my cap, the tickets to St. Louis have been cancelled and we're settled in for a long winter weekend of free (yes, free) premium cable (Freedomland, The Upside of Anger and Wedding Crashers thus far and it's not even two a.m.).

yeah, we don't get out much.

but we did hear that Saddam Hussein is dead.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

who's next?

not to outcrass my artwork, but these things do tend to occur in threes. so after the consecutive passings of the Godfather of Soul and the nation's 38th President, who's next?

got the answer?
then e-mail it to: robblog2005@yahoo.com, subject heading: Dead Before 2007. the winner will feel bad and receive some crappy gift of my choosing that probably won't be worth the time it took to compose the e-mail.

he's not gone before 2007, but my New Times Broward-Palm Beach music editor, Jason Budjinski, is leaving his post soon enough. my final two assignments for him, a longish interview with Hourcast's Patrick McBride and a shorter one with distant cousin Derek Trucks, are up this week.

before 2007 I must finish a Stephen Malkmus feature for Phoenix New Times and submit my Pazz & Jop ballot to the Village Voice. and make a fricking plan, dude. so much to do, so little time.

listening to: Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth (probably won't make the P & J list)
airplane reading: Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life by John Litwiler (eh)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

the last days of pompeii (or tower records)

so late yesterday afternoon, while on a quest for Ornette Coleman CDs at NYPL's Performing Arts branch, I stopped off at Tower Records by Lincoln Center. I believe that today is the final day that particular store will be open, so the few CDs that remained (kind of like getting picked last for a dodgeball game) were listed at 80% off. but what began with scavenger hunt anticipation (anything's possible) quickly turned into "we've already been to ten garage sales this morning and now I just want to go home and watch football" realism (yeah, anything's possible but all they have in this neighborhood is Reader's Digest and polyester muumuus).

I picked out maybe twelve discs after scouring pretty hard for at least the first twenty minutes, and pared by half before I reached the sales clerk. here's the list:

John Parish and Polly Jean Harvey's Dance Hall at Louse Point (import) for $4.40
Jon Langford's Gold Brick for $3.40
The Volebeats' Solitude for $3.00
Rhett Miller's The Believer for $2.00 (which for some reason was more than 80% off the marked price)
Billy Bob Thornton's Hobo for $3.60
Nine Black Alps' Everything Is for $2.60

total with tax: $20.59. and according to my receipt this represented a savings of $82.94.

but is it really saving $82.94 when the purchases didn't fill any particular holes in my lineup? not to get into the whole music as luxury vs. necessity thing, but I'm pretty sure I went in hoping for Ornette Coleman's Beauty Is A Rare Thing box, a couple of Lambchop I'm missing, and Richard Buckner's two MCA releases, Since and Devotion + Doubt.
obviously I didn't land what I wanted/needed.

I already have the Nine Black Alps downloaded but I really like the album (am I the only one? nobody but nobody paid attention to that record. and sure, they sound like a Nirvana-Oasis love child but, you know, that ain't all bad). the Billy Bob is pure perverse curiosity (I've never heard any of his music). the Parish-Harvey co-release is curiosity, but less perverse (I saw John Parish play a little over a year ago and like the little recorded stuff I've heard). no way I'm buying the Rhett Miller unless it's deeply discounted, but Jon Langford's pretty consistently good. probably most excited about finding the Volebeats (I reviewed Country Favorites when it came out and have been filling in the back catalog when I come across it).

still, not a good sign when the closing of a national chain of record stores and the bargains that instills elicit little more than a ho-hum. it seems the world has changed and I've changed with it.

last book read: Travelling People by B.S. Johnson (good luck finding a copy)
last DVD I can recommend with almost no reservations: New York Doll
last celebrity sighted in NYC: Rick Moranis (you win some, you lose some)
last musician interviewed: Stephen Malkmus
next set of photos to be post on The Last Concert I Ever Saw (probably): The Black Keys

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

don't make me tell you again about the scooching

the quote's from Christopher Walken.

the hole in the back (and thigh and eyelid) is mine.

(note: the above photo is not actually my arm (or back or eyelid or thigh) or Christopher Walken's, but it is an example of stitches after a punch excision performed on neither myself nor Christopher Walken (though we both have Astoria connections (as does Tony Bennett and the dermatologist) (blah blah blah))

Yo La Tengo photos are up at The Last Concert I Ever Saw

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a lovely day in nyc

not really.

if there's anything worse than trying to work your way through holiday pedestrians in midtown it's trying to work your way through holiday pedestrians in midtown on a rainy day. I got hit by two different umbrellas and a bicycle tire just going to lunch and back.

but interviews with Paul Weller and Stephen Malkmus are in the can, done, over with, finished, complete.

Monday, December 11, 2006

joelgibberwocky

Know that when the various and sundry members of Canada’s Hidden Cameras exit the stage from their final performance of the year they will, in all likelihood, be smiling. Not only because they can taste a well-deserved vacation from touring, but because the Cameras are that rare indie pop band whose live show is decidedly dance-inducing, evidently exuberant, and giddier than any group with a glockenspiel has a right to be. In a word, joyous.

Broad grins will adorn the respective visages of whirling dervish violinist Jamie McGregor, keyboard moppet Laura Barrett, as well as the Camera’s court jester of a drummer Lex Vaughn. In fact, every single one of the seemingly countless Cameras will most likely be buoyantly beaming. Except for band centerpiece Joel Gibb.

It’s not that Gibb is unhappy exactly. It’s just that his role as Hidden Cameras frontman stretches as broadly as the grins of his backing troupe. See, Joel Gibb is the Cameras’ lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer. He does all band interviews, owns the record label and has conjured every sketched piece of artwork found on the band’s three albums. He gets by with a little help from his friends, but Gibb, for all intents and purposes, is Hidden Cameras. And while the aggregate of his efforts yields an unquestioned control, it is, at times, a heavy burden to shoulder.

“I don’t think I’m a freak about it,” says Gibb from Stuttgard, Germany, “but I think it’s really important to control your art and to control the destiny of your ideas, you know. That doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it.”

And truth be told, despite the travail of leading a slew of happy, happy bandmates through eleven countries, thirteen States and seven Canadian provinces over the past two months alone, it is the attempted control of the destiny of his ideas that weighs most heavily.

Over the course of the Cameras’ first two albums, Gibb penned a number of lines that, well, pretty much guaranteed a certain amount of notoriety. Lines like, “As well, it is the smell of old cum on the rug” and “I drank from the wine that came from inside/The heart of his meat and the splurge of his sweet” and “I kissed his ugly gangly greens/He swallowed my pee” and “ My golden bone meets the golden bun/Buns held high in our dreams of men.” Lines that rendered Gibb as the personification of that most uncommon union of alt-folk and sexual frankness.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But in this substantially sexless, genitalless genre (can you imagine Belle & Sebastian or, god forbid, The Decemberists abandoning coy wordplay and euphemism in favor of such directness?), lyrics like Gibb’s wave a proverbially red flag.

“That’s a journalist thing,” he says. “It’s not necessarily my thing. If people want to talk about it then they can talk about it because people don’t talk about it enough. And if I’m an excuse to talk about things like that, then great because people should talk about those things.”

But it may be what’s made Gibb so damn tired.

“I’m into music,” he says. “I would never say I have a social responsibility. I don’t really want to have that responsibility. I don’t want to place that on myself personally. Writing a song and singing it, that’s already giving your soul away.”

“You should be able to access music in any way you want. You should be able to access music for music, or you could access music for the words. It’s up to the audience, you know. You can’t dictate how your music is perceived.”

Nevertheless, Gibb’s role is exacerbated by fervent followers drawn to his unique perspective, but one step towards tossing the albatross of meticulous meaning, it would seem, is the Cameras’ latest album Awoo.

“I always wanted to name an album that was nonsensical,” Gibb says. “And that’s what the record’s kind of about. It’s like nonsensical.

“It plays with the idea of nonsense, not only in talking about the idea of language being a lie and nonsense but actually a song like “Lollipop” where I’m actually delivering it in a nonsensical way, even though they’re all words and I’m actually saying the words but it comes out all mumbo jumbly, so I thought the name 'Awoo' sort of reflected some of those ideas.”

Like Lewis Carroll’s epic poem “Jabberwocky” (`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:), the Cameras’ latest is accented by the apparently ambiguous: songs like the twitter-tongued “Lollipop,” “Fee Fie,” and the catchy title track, “Awoo,” which is liable to attract an audience more accepting of the less explicit.

It’s “something in between” a sound and a word, says Gibb of “Awoo.” “That’s why I like it. It’s a sound I like to sing. It’s like a song, but it also can have a meaning. But I like the idea of a word not necessarily having some specific meaning in a specific language.”

Following the band’s final show in Cleveland, Gibb, like the rest of the Cameras, will head to Toronto. But then Gibb will move on to Philadelphia, followed by New York where his art will hang on the walls of a Lower East Side gallery. Just after Valentine’s Day he’ll arrive back in Germany.

“Going away to Berlin is a great way to just be alone, and to reflect and to work on stuff,” he says. “You can’t always be performing, you know. You have to recharge a little bit sometimes.”

Meaning sometime in February, somewhere over the Atlantic on a transcontinental flight, a little less controlling Joel Gibb may look ahead and, like his bandmates, smile.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Friday, December 8, 2006

discovering japan (and missouri)

interviews last night with Derek Trucks (on tour with Eric Clapton in Japan) and Patrick McBride of Hourcast (at home in Kansas City). next Tuesday with Paul Weller in England. this morning just a windy walk through 18 degrees (which is just much too cold to walk through).

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

closed doors (figuratively, of course)

long day, long week.
disappointment reigns supreme.
and hibernation sounds like such a good thing.

shut out (at the door) of Owen's opening set at Irving Plaza.
not Mike's fault.
shut out (just inside the door) of a dermatologist appointment
(of all things).
I should really have taken a picture.

and oh, so very, very much more (see photo).

but here's a short conversation with Mike Kinsella (aka Owen) in this week's New Times Broward-Palm Beach

"come on progeny"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

free reading


we're winding down, sweetheart.

articles this week in the Village Voice (on The Rum House, a Times Square piano bar), two in Riverfront Times on the New York Dolls (one here and one here), and then a longish interview with lead singer Mat Devine of Kill Hannah in New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

enjoy (or at least try to).

ADDENDUM(B): it seems that the official weekly count is five, not four, pieces, as The Pitch in Kansas City saw fit to reprint a previous offering on The Black Keys.

(and I feel weak from overexposure)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

today's news

Mike Shula was fired as head football coach at the University of Alabama today (I thought they'd give him another year).

Pamela Anderson filed for divorce from Kid Rock (seemed like a good match to me).

the DJIA fell 158 points (it was overdue).

my iPod is somehow missing two (of the best) songs from Centro-Matic's Fort Recovery album: "Patience for the Ride" and "For New Starts."

and mere hours after turning in two pieces (a Hidden Cameras feature for Cleveland Scene and a short Owen Q and A for New Times Broward-Palm Beach), currently leaving just two assignments between now and the end of January (the lightest workload I've faced in, well, years, and one of those may disappear shortly (more on that later)), I'm bored shitless.

sure, I have books to read (currently Like A Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson by Jonathan Coe), and a new blog (The Last Concert I Ever Saw) to update, and old interviews to transcribe and, perhaps most importantly, book projects to sort through and evaluate and decide upon (casting my fate to the wind as it were), but still, following a momentary yet palpable sense of relief (after all, I've been attempting to decrease the workload for some time now), I've already gone squirrely.

boy, that didn't last long at all, did it?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

update time

I'm more than aware that recent blog entries have lately consisted of little save for blurry photographs (more to come), lists (ditto) and quoted poetry (absotively), though it is neither guilt nor a burst of newfound energy that has brought about tonight's scribbling.
no indeedy.
instead, credit (or blame) the prospect of an unhurried breath.
granted, I am supposed to leave town (not going far - don't worry) in less than eighteen hours and there are packing and dishwashing duties to perform.
but yea, verily, my head is untroubled (kind of).
because two fairly sizable pieces - one on the New York Dolls for Riverfront Times and one on a local lounge act for Village Voice - have been written, turned in and are now, I believe (I hope), mostly out of my hands. those pieces, as well as a lengthy Q and A with Chicago's Kill Hannah for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and a shorter one with New York Dolls drummer Brian Delaney (also for Riverfront Times, should appear before Thanksgiving is seven days gone.
and it's been a long, or at least involved, time coming.

I missed Robert Pollard's show at Bowery Ballroom a week ago Monday due to illness (exhaustion, workload) and soon thereafter Bob pulled a muscle and cancelled the rest of his dates.
I never really considered, at least seriously, attending New Found Glory's Tuesday show in town (despite a nice recent conversation with the band's Chad Gilbert).
on Wednesday, I re-interviewed Hidden Cameras leader Joel Gibb for an upcoming Cleveland Scene piece, ate a lovely dinner with my lovely spouse, then returned to the Bowery Ballroom for the most enjoyable show I've seen since Lambchop.
Thursday saw a return of illness (exhaustion, workload), so I skipped a Damien Rice showcase.
and Friday was just one of those days where it does not pay to get out of bed (of course, you never know until you, you know, get out of bed). so bad, in fact, that sometime before midnight, in the Union Square subway station (following the Robyn Hitchcock show at the Hiro Ballroom), I loudly stated my intention to quit writing about music (keep your ironic cheers to a minimum, please).
disappointment, embarassment, more disappointment, more.
Saturday was better: an ingestion of my last slab of Dreamland ribs (the perfect Christmas gift!), visitation with my friend Will during Auburn's 22-15 victory over Alabama, followed by Charles Bissell (Wrens), Bobby Bare Jr and Centro-Matic at the Mercury Lounge. a late night, but worth it.

this week, a medium-sized piece on the Pernice Brothers (that I'm not unhappy with) in Phoenix New Times.

last book read: Robert E. Lee by Roy Blount Jr (from the Penguin Lives series) (if I read a word of it outside the New York City subway system I'd be very much surprised)

oh yeah, and I started another blog - The Last Concert I Ever Saw - because what the world needs now is another blog, sweet blog.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

songs of yesterday and the day before that

"that's entertainment" by Paul Weller (from Catch-Flame!)
"big me" by Foo Fighters (from Foo Fighters)
"no action" by Elvis Costello (from This Year's Model)
"stain yer blood" by Paul Westerberg (from Besterberg)
"maimed happiness" by New York Dolls (from One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This)
"n.y. doll" by Robyn Hitchcock & the venus 3 (from Ole! Tarantula)
"follow these eyes" by Hidden Cameras (from Awoo)
"declarations of faith" by Zwan (from Mary Star of the Sea)

e. e. cummings' greatest hits

and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skillfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat—
Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

from "i sing of Olaf glad and big"

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

it's a pretty good day in america

unfortunately Johnny Sain, three-time All-Star (and vastly underrated pitching coach), passed away after a long illness on Tuesday (and I don't feel so good myself (seriously).

but it looks like dem Dems are in charge of both houses of Congress, some guy named Rumsfeld quit his job (am I the only person in the country scratching a bald spot at the timing of this? I mean, if Bush fires Rumsfeld two weeks ago the Republicans still control the Senate and are no more than ten seats behind in the House, right?), and finally (finally) after weeks and weeks (seriously) of toil and trouble, the long-awaited Lindsey Buckingham feature finally (finally) made its appearance at LA Weekly.

finally.

god bless, you know.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

get off of my property you brain-eating zombie bastards

(yeah, I'm watching South Park)

kind of a big week pub-wise, with three (count 'em) features in three (count 'em) different alt-weeklies.

you can read about The Decemberists signing to Capitol Records in Philadelphia Weekly, a long interview with From First To Last (who just got booted off their current tour with Atreyu) in Riverfront Times, and a home-themed feature on New Found Glory in New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

read 'em and weep.

conducting interviews this week with Joel Gibb of Hidden Cameras, Mat Devine of Kill Hannah, Mike Kinsella of Owen and Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers (three down, one to go). and going to see The Wrens and The Walkmen tomorrow night to begin a pretty full weekend.

last book read: Woodrow Wilson by Louis Auchincloss (from the Penguin Lives series)
book before that: Crazy Horse by Larry McMurtry (also from the Penguin Lives series)

if Christmas was tomorrow I'd want a Capt. Spaulding action figure (from the Rob Zombie movies).

Monday, October 23, 2006

just a few minutes ago

I passed Oscar winner (Terms of Endearment) Shirley MacLaine on the street (49th Street for those of you keeping score at home - and yeah, there's celebrities around here all the time, but Shirley MacLaine's kind of a big deal).

we made eye contact. she stonefaced me.

guess I don't look as good as I thought.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

princeton moves to 6 and 0

following a questionable taunting penalty against Harvard, Princeton continued their drive to take the lead 31-28 and sealed the victory with two interceptions in the final four minutes.

go tigers.

exciting news

the Yes Network (home of those dreaded Yankees) is broadcasting today's Princeton-Harvard game.

it's like being there, except you don't have to freeze your ass off!

the Tigers, currently 5-0, just scored on a quarterback draw to tie the score at 7 so all is more or less well (except the long shots make the field look like early morning, sun-reflected lakewater - kind of hard to watch).

(there will be no live blog however, as there's way too damn much work to do and we all know what happened last time I blogged a Tiger game)

addendum: the Tigers just intercepted a pass at the Crimson 29 yard line. Harvard is also undefeated, having lost last to . . . Princeton, nine games ago.

update: early in the third quarter, after a three and out by Princeton, Harvard mounts an extremely impressive drive (including the conversion of a fourth and inches from their own 17 and an absolutely beautiful sideline catch by wide receiver Corey Mazza) to draw to within three.
so with just over eight minutes to go in the third, Princeton leads 24-21.

long day's journey into brooklyn (or, how I got home at 2:57 a.m.)

we're running late because we're playing around with the new camera, but eventually we make the walk to Steinway to catch the G train. and yes, we know that the G train stops running at 8:30 but we've got at least thirty minutes leeway there so off we set.

an R comes. we hesitate, then one of us (not me) asks the conductor who is leaning her head out the sliding window (ostensibly to visually check whether or not it's okay to close the doors), and learn that the G train doesn't stop at Steinway at all during the day, so we get on.

the conductor is nice enough to come into the car proper to explain further. G train doesn't run during the day (at least not at Steinway) so the signs that say the G train won't run from 8:30 Friday night until whatever pre-dawn hour on Monday are actually saying, It's not running at all. ever. at least not here at Steinway.

so we take the R to Queens Plaza, the V to Court Square where we catch the G train for three stops to Nassau Avenue where we disembark, walk the block towards McCarren Park to get to Enid's where our friends are patiently waiting with the last few sips of their first beer each.

our server is friendly and informative. the four of us order four different entrees (sweet potato quesadilla, creamed chicken and biscuit, fried chicken and smashed potatoes, and the three sides plate). everything is good and extremely affordable. we pay the bill, thank our server, and walk the couple blocks down to the Warsaw.

everyone, from doormen to security, is friendly. love the space (though they didn't seem to have the heat on). we miss Reid Paley, arriving sometime during the changeover to Frank Black who gets a mixed reaction from our group with the lowest marks from those only familiar with his Pixies material (an acoustic version of "Holiday Song," but that was about it).

and then.

and then we walk over to Union Pool (under the beautiful BQE) to catch the end of a friend's set.

unlike the Warsaw, Union Pool has no air-conditioning. and the front room provides a throng of drunken youngsters unseen since my last visit to a frat party. thick with loud, upwardly mobile drunks I'm telling you.

but there's another room in the back where the band plays and we managed to catch the last four songs.

but then.

but then we miss a G train (pulls out as we're heading down the stairs) at 1:30. we're planning to take the G to Court Square, transfer to the 7 (an elevated station and it's turned pretty damn cold by now), then to the N at Queensboro Plaza (another, even less protected from the elements station) to get home.

it takes more than 20 minutes, but less than 30 for the next G to come. four stops to Court Square where the conductor announces transfers available to the 7, E and V trains.

well, it's a walk to the 7. through the long station, up to the street, then up to the elevated. and the thing is, the 7 train isn't running. not running at all, it seems, from 12:30 Saturday morning to some pre-dawn hour on Monday. at least not between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza (and be forewarned: it appears the same plan will be in effect next weekend).

so there's a choice (in name only) to be made. and we eschew the E or V connection (which would mean another walk back), a transfer (after one stop) to the R, then a 12-15 minute walk home from Steinway.

wrong choice.

we walk through near desolate Long Island City to Queensboro Plaza. we're going to skip the 7 train entirely.

did I mention it was cold?

and we get to Queensboro Plaza (very elevated; many steps) and hit the N train platform just as the train pulls away.

I mean, I run ahead (I'm going to block the door or something) and I literally put my hand on the train (probably, in fact, bang on the door).

and then.

and then it pulls away.

I utter a choice expletive deleted (since at this hour (it's now 2:30) it's going to be another 20 minutes before another train comes).

it's only about a 20 minute walk from Queensboro to our apartment, but it's 2:30 in the morning, it's cold (did I mention it was cold?) and the streets in this neighborhood aren't exactly major thoroughfares during weekday hours and, truth be told, I'm feeling just a touch fortunate that the walk from Court Square to Queensboro Plaza was as uneventful as it was.

so we freeze our collective asses for 24 minutes before another N train comes and cross the threshold of our apartment at 2:57 a.m., bubbling with thoughts of never venturing to Brooklyn again. at least not during night time hours. at least not without commuting home through Manhattan.

forever and ever. amen.

Monday, October 16, 2006

mets-cards postponed

yes, Game Five of the NLCS has been postponed due to inclimate weather in St. Louis. and yes, Studio 60's on at 10 pm EST (9 pm Central - check your local listings), but what to do in the interim?

well, you could watch wrestling (like I'm doing). or Six Feet Under on Bravo. or you could read my latest piece (an early post it seems) in the Village Voice.

this is not the greatest album cover ever

at least I don't think so. but for whatever reason on

Friday
I felt like proclaiming Captain Fantastic as the best album cover ever. go figure.
on Thursday I'd stumbled across it (I somehow skipped over Fantastic in the Elton John progression. I'm fairly well-versed in Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and even Caribou to some extent, but almost completely missed Fantastic which, if memory serves, is the first album in history to ship gold) and it felt so damn good to listen to something because I wanted to and not because I had an assignment.
also Friday, the commute to Princeton and a very cold (by the end at least) Tiger victory over Brown, 17-3.

Saturday
a trip to the Princeton University Art Museum (and another reminder that I'd like to delve deeper into the work of Chaim Soutine) and a couple of transactions at Princeton Record Exchange (which proves that I HAVE TOO MUCH MUSIC: 78.6 days worth on the iTunes with some to-be-ripped discs already in a pile, but the true measure is that I brought home no less than three discs (without knowing it obviously) that I already owned).
that night we watched The Director's Cut of Donnie Darko, missing the baseball playoffs and Auburn's victory over Florida (had to happen after the Arkansas debacle) entirely. which is the price you pay when the only television is hooked up not to cable but a personal DVD player.
War Eagle.

Sunday
an early commute back to the city for a delicious brunch at Odeon with a hungover, recently anniversaried couple. then the subway ride home where I noticed a woman with a canvas bag which read Long Island University School of Nursing. she appeared to be napping on the train with the book, Psychiatric Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, open across her chest.
personally I do not want my future psychicatric nurse to have taken the incredibly easy educational route.

Friday, October 13, 2006

damien jurado in phoenix new times

I've got a few pieces out this week, but the one I like best is on contemp folk singer Damien Jurado in Phoenix New Times. and here's some more pics of Damien last Friday night at NYC's Knitting Factory.

(listening to Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand right now. I'm off to Princeton in a little more than twelve hours and will be trying to make it through the Brown game (yes, it's on Friday night and it's supposed to be wicked cold). go tigers)





october 11th

yesterday is going to be a memorable one. I had a face-to-face interview with Lindsey Buckingham (one of my musical heroes and one of the few capable of bringing the pre-interview nerves up to levels previously only reached by impending sessions with Paul Westerberg and Charles Thompson III (a.k.a. Frank Black) and I attended Carnegie Hall for the first time (for a Randy Newman concert - love the Randy Newman)).

but the main reason that October 11th will linger is the plane crash into a 72nd Street apt. building which tragically claimed the lives of major league pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger.

for the few hours that crash details remained a mystery, most every New York transplant received a phone call (or three) from family and friends asking what the hell was going on? (most often phrased as, Where are you? Are you safe?) because, understandably, planes crashing into buildings is something this city will never get over.

rumor, conjecture, uncertainty is almost to be expected in those first few hours. but damn if it should be continuing 24 hours later. and by theoretically reputable journalists.

which is why I'm extremely disappointed to see Philip Weiss' downright irresponsible blog entry on the New York Observer's website.

the blog entry's title? "The Suicide Question Re Corey Lidle"

I had a few days' worth of interaction with Philip about 14 years ago when Esquire sent him to Tuscaloosa to write an article on the starting gate of Alabama state politics that is the University of Alabama's fraternity system (it's called "The Machine" down there). and since native New Yorker Philip was rather a duck out of water in those Southern environs, and since I knew one of the assigning editors at Esquire, my roommate and I tried to make Philip feel a little wetter, or at least a little less ducky. we even introduced him to a few of our students who were active in Machine politics.

that's called an aside. I have no idea if my disappointment could possibly increase just because I spent some time with the writer 14 years ago. but the blog entry is downright sloppy and, worse, unbelievably irresponsible.

Weiss' contention/conjecture, of course, is that Lidle may've been depressed enough over the Yankees' early playoff exit to kill himself.

first of all, he spells Cory's name wrong not only in the title of his entry, but throughout his piece.
secondly, Weiss writes that "at least one MLB pitcher who screwed up committed suicide in the off-season." he doesn't even bother to look up the pitcher's name (I'm pretty sure he was thinking of former Angels pitcher Donnie Moore who killed himself with a handgun a full two and a half years after he allowed a playoff home run that is often misremembered as a game-winning blast. it should also be noted that Moore suffered from multiple financial, marital and emotional problems, had just been released by a minor league team (effectively ending his career) and shot his estranged wife three times before turning the gun on himself). because if one human being who happened to be a major league pitcher could kill himself following a loss (even a loss two and a half years before), all major league pitchers are capable, right? and really, it's not enough to suggest that the guy killed himself without any evidence at all, while we're here let's imply that Cory Lidle was selfish enough to not only kill himself (leaving behind a wife and six-year-old child) but take his flight instructor out too while endangering the lives of countless New Yorkers who might be in or around a towering apt. building on the upper east side in the middle of the afternoon (as opposed to say taking a solitary nosedive into an uninhabited field). is that your logic, Philip?

jeez, somebody hire an editor with the balls to say, Uh, that's about the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard. and by the way, your writing on this one is almost unimaginably lazy (for starters, we still don't know for sure that Lidle was even piloting the plane) and this piece in no way qualifies as journalism. why don't we not post this entry?

or something.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the six-month iPod playlist

long about last April 10, the second (or third) (who's counting?) iPod died. and we had other iTunes issues, with the computer primarily, regarding an overlap of MP3 files after we added an external hard drive. seemed as if we had some songs damn near everywhere on our computer. so, we did what every red-blooded American with a burgeoning sense of ingenuity would do: we started over.

so here are Top 25 Most Played Songs (according to our iTunes Library) for the past six months:

"Let's Get Out Of This Country" from Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country
"Town" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"The Decline of Country and Western Civilization" from Lambchop's Damaged
"Country Mile" from Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country
"I Need All The Friends I Can Get" from Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country
"Lucky" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"The Room Got Heavy" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
"Black Flowers" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
"The Race Is On Again" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
"Canyon" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Mile" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Before" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Sometimes I Don't Get You" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
"Kingdom" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Window" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Up With People" from Lambchop's Nixon
"If Looks Could Kill" from Camera Obscura's Let's Get Out Of This Country
"Fast Man" from Frank Black's Fast Man Raider Man
"A Dime and A Cigarette" from Head Like A Kite's Random Portraits of the Home Movie
"Numbered" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"Daphnia" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
"A World of Hurt" from Drive-By Truckers' A Blessing and a Curse
"I Would've Waited Here All Day" from Lambchop's Damaged
"Spell" from Richard Buckner's Meadow
"I Should've Known Better" from Yo La Tengo's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

though this list likely says more about the aural ingestions of albums than songs (despite the list heading), it's damn sure telling when it comes to the last six months' writing assignments.

impressionism (3)


Damien Jurado at The Knitting Factory, NYC, 10/6/06

Saturday, October 7, 2006

arkansas at auburn live blog - fourth quarter

alrighty then.
the number two team in the nation enters the fourth quarter at home, behind by two touchdowns with Arkansas in possession of the ball on their own 45.

two-yard run to the right by Felix Jones.

end around to Felix Jones for a ten-yard gain and a first down at Auburn's 43.

McFadden runs left for three yards but there's a flag on the play. personal foul on Arkansas' Mitch Petrus (who I believe is thereupon clocked by one of his own offensive lineman for making such a stupid play).
short run brings up third and forever.
screen pass to Felix Jones to the right is stopped by Karibi Dede to bring up fourth and 23.

Dunn receives Skinner's punt at the 10 and stuttersteps, runs sideways long enough to bring about another penalty, this time a block in the back foul to push Auburn well inside their own 20.

here's the Geico commercial with Verne Troyer ("yeah, it's my birthday").
I loved the Geico gecko commercials but these new ones with guest spokespersons side by side "regular" Geico customers are pretty damn inspired. not so much the one with Charo, but I loved the Troyer, the Little Richard and my absolute favorite with Peter Graves (let's hear it for "tangerine lip gloss").
(did you know the Gecko has a blog? makes sense, I guess. certainly no surprise)

meanwhile, back on the Plains, Auburn's looking at three and out.
a third down screen to Brad Lester comes up short of the 20 and so Auburn's facing fourth and three from their own 18 with 10:55 left to go in the game.

punt, Tommy, punt.

not Blissful: let's call that punt 35 yards (of course, we're facing the same way we were in the first quarter) so Arkansas will start their next possession within ten yards of midfield.
this ain't looking good.

McFadden runs around left end for about twelve.

offside on Auburn to bring up first and five.
McFadden stuffed in the middle for a gain of a yard.
Felix Jones runs left for three. now third and one and we're about to go under nine minutes remaining.

McFadden runs off tackle right for five and a first down.

Felix Jones left for eight yards. McFadden left for four and a first down.
Jones up the middle for eight.
offside penalty on Auburn's noseguard and Arkansas has a first and goal from the six yard line with less than six and a half minutes remaining.
this isn't even going to be close.

McFadden up the middle for a yard.
Houston Nutt, Arkansas coach, is so excited on the sideline he looks like he's about to wet himself.
Auburn pursues upfield on a deep handoff to McFadden for a two yard loss. third and goal from the seven and a half and we've just passed inside five minutes.
Felix Jones takes a pitch right and is clobbered in the backfield for about a five yard loss.

Jeremy David, Arkansas's kicker, looks even less like a kicker than Sebastian Janikowski. he even wears number 50. but he nails it through the middle from the right hash and Arkansas leads by 17. and if the flicker of thought - have I done this? have I caused this loss by deciding, for the first time, to live blog this game? - flashed before, it's sticking around a little longer right now.

squib kick is allowed to roll through to the deep man who does absolutely nothing with it.
Auburn's ball on their own 17 with less than four minutes remaining.
short pass for little gain, incomplete pass across the middle (broken up) brings up third and nine.
pass left to Courtney Taylor should be good enough for the first.

Brandon Cox throws right into the breadbasket of Arkansas cornerback Darius Vinnett who promptly drops the ball.
another ugly incompletion (though not as ugly as the first one), followed by a sack of Cox. fourth and 15 and Auburn's not even going for it now.
Arkansas doesn't bother to put a man back so Bliss kicks (yeah, now he kicks) for 58 yards after the roll and I predict this is not the last game that Auburn will lose this season. not because they don't have the talent, but they fricking quit on this one, at home, against Arkansas. so what do you expect will happen when they play a team with a similar load of talent? like, say, Florida next week?

(man, it was going to be so downhill after that: Tulane, Ole Miss, and Arkansas State before Georgia (who has no offense) and Alabama (ditto)).

how does that Randy Newman song go?
shame, shame, shame, shame.

arkansas at auburn live blog - third quarter

Auburn's Matt Clark kicks the ball through the end zone to start the second half (and I think that backs up my wind theory on Kody Bliss from the first quarter since Auburn's moving left to right in the third quarter and they were going the opposite in the first).

note: halftime of a televised CBS game lasts almost exactly as long as it takes to prepare and ingest a fried bologna, egg and cheese sandwich (toasted white bread and mayo to further the Southern stereotype), and take bathroom and smoke breaks.
I mean, almost exactly.

Darren McFadden runs a draw for nine yards on second down and heads to the sideline holding his shoulder/right arm a little funny.

Auburn's line penetrates on third and short but Arkansas picks up the first.

Felix Jones gains seven up the middle on first down.

hand off to Jones for about two and a half.

third and short: McFadden re-enters the game but Mustain calls timeout.

I believe Steve Beurlein is the color commentator I've been referring to but I can't absolutely confirm just yet. whoever he is, I've agreed with him for the most part and have not found him annoying. his play-by-play partner is Craig Bolerjack (can I trade Brent Musberger for these guys for, say, the rest of my life?)

Arkansas throws a naked flare to the right for a nice gain and the first down.

Mustain takes the snap from the shotgun on third and six, Auburn gets good pressure from Marquies Gunn but Mustain escapes and tries to run over the Auburn tackler two yards short of the first.

Arkansas' punter, Jacob Skinner, does some kind of pagan, Florida State ritual behind the line of scrimmage (it looks like he's pretending to shoot an arrow up in the air). strange.
and it's a good punt but Robert Dunn (I still vote that he sits this half) dekes the Arkansas cover man and the ball bounds into the end zone for a touchback.

9:50 left in the third and Auburn has the ball on the 20.
attempted power run to the left but Arkansas safety Randy Kelly penetrates and drops Kenny Irons for a four-yard loss.
screen pass to Irons on second down for eight. third and six.
Cox is sacked at the 15 by Arkansas linebacker Weston Dacus.

Kody Bliss shanks the punt to his right for only 19 yards (something wrong with Kody other than wind?) so Arkansas will start at Auburn's 35.
this ain't looking good.

Arkansas starts from a funky, almost extra point formation, and wr Reggie Fish runs left for 29 yards to Auburn's six.

yes, Auburn has been off since a week ago Thursday (South Carolina) but Arkansas had a bye week following their overtime win against Alabama. and that's exactly the type of play you put in on an off-week.

review in progress, I think to see if Fish might've stepped out of bounds on the 15.

nope. Arkansas first and goal at the six.

pitch to McFadden who runs right with the pitch, untouched, until the goal line when he's met head on by Aairon Savage.
McFadden drops the ball but the refs rule him down on the one.

on second and six inches Mustain fumbles the snap but recovers (though somehow he doesn't lose any yardage? what's with that?)
Arkansas calls their second timeout of the half (they finished with one in the first half and that might've cost them a shot at a field goal as the half ended with them in Auburn territory).

pitch left to Felix Jones who is touched in the backfield by Will Herring but Herring can't make the tackle.
Arkansas leads 24-10 with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
this ain't looking good.

after the break, Beurlein says that he doesn't see Auburn as "a come from behind team." and he's right again. Auburn is a well-stocked, wear 'em down in the fourth quarter team.
which is not to say that the offense doesn't have firepower, but they're much stronger in ball control mode.

screen to Carl Stewart for a first down, then Cox is sacked by Ernest Mitchell for a seven yard loss (Auburn misses Joe Cope).

simple handoff to Kenny Irons goes for 17 and a first down.

a fake run, fake reverse bootleg pass to tight end Gabe McKenzie goes for a ten yard gain but should've been more and Cox got hammered in the backfield upon release.

long pass to Courtney Taylor, two steps in front of the defender, is short armed by Taylor (should've been caught for a huge gain) who actually slows down then watches as the ball lands a foot in front of him.
ugly flare pass to the left for a big loss, then Irons off to the left to bring up third and six from the thirty.

fumble! (I have no idea how that happened - mishandled snap?)
Irons recovers, flag on the play. Auburn's called for an illegal shift.
fourth and nine from the 36 and Auburn's going for it.
well, maybe not. Auburn's first timeout of the half with seven seconds left to go in the quarter.

I have no idea what that play was supposed to be, but Cox dropped back, feinted, dropped back some more, and then feinted into a Arkansas tackler for a ten yard loss.

memories of former Auburn quarterback Loren Carter.
and that's not a good thing.

arkansas at auburn live blog - second quarter

first play of the second quarter Brandon Cox checks off, drops back and lofts to Rod Smith (should I call him Rodgerigus Smith now? it's so much longer with so many misspelling potentials) who makes a beautiful catch falling back in the end zone (past two Arkansas defenders) to bring Auburn to within three.
Arkansas 10, Auburn 7.

I'm hungry.

kickoff is called out of bounds before entering the end zone (the ball bounced over the pylon) so Arkansas starts on their 35.

Arkansas runs for a first down but it's called back for illegal procedure (not enough men on the line of scrimmage).

second and seven and Mustain throws the ball into the gut of Auburn's defender who either drops the balls or has it stripped by the Arkansas wide receiver to bring about third and seven.
timeout Arkansas.

good pressure on third down by Auburn's defense and the freshman looks like a freshman. incomplete.

Arkansas punts and causes a clusterf*&k.
Auburn's returner Dunn swings back and back and wide and wide.
offsetting penalties (facemask and clipping) causes a re-kick and another clusterf*&k when the Arkansas cover man doesn't allow Dunn enough room to catch the punt but no penalty is called (at first - ultimately an illegal touch is enforced) as Dunn quits on the ball and a backup Auburn receiver covers at the four causing momentary heart palpitations.

screen pass to Kenny Irons on first down for a nice gain (first down), but Auburn's called for a personal foul (on Robert Dunn - I vote that Dunn sits down for a while) and half the distance to the goal line.

long pass to Courtney Taylor is correctly called incomplete, though the pass itself is some kind of pretty.

long pass to Rod Smith, incomplete, results in another flag, another delay, another cry of What the hell?
offside on Arkansas and the second flag is picked up because the pass is ruled uncatchable (muchly debatable) even though the Arkansas db shoves Smith out of bounds well before the ball arrives.

third and 3.
quick pass to Courtney Taylor on the right wing for a first down.
and after all of that Auburn still hasn't crossed over their own 30.

overthrow to Tre Smith down the right sideline on first down.

beautful run around left end by Kenny Irons to the Arkansas 49 on second and ten.

tough face to face tackle by Arkansas when Irons tries to go off tackle right, but Arkansas is called, once again, for offsides.

awkward pass to Carl Stewart with way too much air under it on first and 5. that could've ended up much worse than it did.

tough run up the middle by Irons, close to a first down.

Irons up the middle for a first.
weak end around to Courtney Taylor for a two-yard loss.
first sack of the game by Arkansas with Cox still in the pocket. third and 16.

good pressure by Arkansas by Cox slips the noose and throws a flair to Taylor for an 11-yard gain.

on fourth and five Tuberville goes for it, Cox can't find a receiver, tucks the ball and runs and never gets close to the first. CBS' commentator (I swear I'll find his name before the end of the game) says that Taylor was open for an easy first and wonders aloud why Cox didn't throw.

wow. on second and six Darren McFadden busts through the line for a 63-yard touchdown run for Arkansas.
they lead 17-7.

exactly five minutes left to go in the half when Arkansas kicks off to Brad Lester about four yards deep in the back left corner.
and likely I am not the only Auburn fan yelling, No, no, no, at the television when he brings it out, but Lester cuts through the middle runs it all the way back to the Arkansas' 32.

CBS' commentator suggests that Auburn should take the rest of the half to "pound" Kenny Irons into the Arkansas defense to "re-establish their identity."
I am in complete agreement.

Cox can't find a receiver on second down and runs for the first down. Auburn on the Arkansas 19.

Irons runs right for no gain.

misdirection screen is batted down and nearly intercepted on a beautiful play by Arkansas defensive end Antwain Robinson (actually broken up by the left hand of Brandon Cox).

third down pass is ruled incomplete (close call), then followed by a 36-yard field goal by John Vaughn.
with 1:46 left in the half, Arkansas leads 17-7.

Arkansas returns the ball to their 25.
McFadden is gangtackled for no gain.
less than a minute to go so I'm assuming one more running play before I head to the kitchen (still hungry).

nope. Auburn calls a timeout (their first) with 32 seconds left and Arkansas facing about a third and eight.

Arkansas' Felix Jones busts up the middle for a first down.
another run by Jones for another first down just into Auburn territory, but that's the end of the half.

I'm thinking the stereotypical Auburn fan scrambled egg and fried bologna sandwich.

arkansas at auburn live blog - first quarter

more in recognition of the knowledge that I'll get absolutely no work done during the Auburn-Arkansas game (though the recent interview transcribing is pretty much caught up) than any kind of pseudo-literary pursuit, I've decided to try a running blog on today's Auburn-Arkansas game (I'm running late - no time for the usual pre-game comments when you turn on the television right before kickoff).

Auburn got off to a nice start: good runback of the kickoff, an eleven-yard run by Kenny Irons, a ten-yard pass play to Rod Smith before a unbelievably ugly gimmick play (a tossback to Tre Smith in hopes of a pass back to Brandon Cox open in the left flat loses twelve) kills all momentum so Auburn punts (an unusually weak punt by Kody Bliss who misjudges his lag inside the 20).

in Arkansas' first series Auburn defended the run well (McFadden primarily) but gave up a large gain on a screen pass and another across the middle. then a misdirection run to the left by Jones goes for a big gain and Arkansas has the ball inside Auburn's 20.

commercial break for an Arkansas timeout (thankfully).

it's telling, at least somewhat, that this game is overshadowed in pre-game hype by Florida-LSU and Tennessee-Georgia when Auburn and Arkansas are the last two undefeated in the conference teams in the West division (meaning that it's likely that the winner of this game will go to the SEC Championship game).
and I can only assume that even after Auburn's close call on the road against South Carolina a week ago Thursday (was Auburn's staff severely outcoached by Spurrier? maybe. the flexible, forgiving defense certainly didn't work against SC quarterback Syvelle Newton) the experts don't take Arkansas very seriously (I have no idea what the point spread is on this game), after all, USC blew them out for the second year in a row and Arkansas beat Vanderbilt by only two points and Alabama (in overtime) by just one.

Arkansas hits a 34-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

kickoff for a touchback and two runs gain nothing, incomplete pass on third down and Auburn's set to punt again. not looking good.

44-yard punt by Kody Bliss for a fair catch at Arkansas' 36 (not a bad punt obviously - a 44-yard pickup in field position - but I'm guessing there's some wind in the stadium today as that one looked like in hung up a bit (no carry)).

this is harder than it looks, by the way.

my beloved is back from the drug store and is now updating her iPod (three weeks behind) and keeping an eye on the laundry we started before the game, which is one of the reasons I was running a little behind. didn't eat (or haven't eaten) but I did manage to unload the dishwasher.

eight-yard gain on a pass across the middle by true freshman Mitch Mustain (looks like Arkansas, like South Carolina, might be another team that you'd want to play really early this season (maybe one game earlier than Auburn's playing these guys) as both offenses (SC and Arkansas) look like they can do some damage.

gamebreak shows that Iowa is up by two touchdowns early over Purdue.

overthrown pass by Mustain for his first incomplete of the game. third and six.

Auburn blitzes. Mustain throws off his back foot. Auburn's db falls down (looks like he might've been pulled down by Monk, Arkansas' wide receiver) and Monk reins in Mustain's floater and waltzes into the end zone for a 10-0 Arkansas lead.
50 yards, by the way.
CBS' commentator calls the play "a gift from heaven" for Arkansas, and points out that this is the largest deficit that Auburn has faced this year.

Auburn called for holding on the runback.
and I know that coming back to win should be the primary concern right now, but I can't help thinking that after the South Carolina game and USC's early season domination of Arkansas (50-14), Auburn will be hard pressed to hang onto a #2 ranking after this game even if they do win.

Auburn fumbles, but recovers, on first down. second and 12.
pass to Courtney Taylor crossing to the middle for a ten-yard gain.
Brad Lester runs off tackle right for the first down.

gamebreak shows that Wake Forest leads Clemson. go Demon Deacons.

very nice, determined run left (through a pretty clogged line) for 19 yards by Lester gets the crowd back into the game.

over the top pass to Rod Smith to the left corner for another Auburn first down.

after a tough no-gain run to the middle, Arkansas' db Richardson and Auburn's Rod Smith trade headslaps and offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties.

pass for first down. another run up the middle for little or no gain.
ugly bootleg screen to Courtney Taylor to the left loses three so the quarter ends with Auburn facing third and long (15?) from the Arkansas 25.

Monday, October 2, 2006

impressionism (2)


yo la tengo's ira kaplan at the Landmark Loew's Theatre, Jersey City, NJ, 9/29/06