Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Prerogative

Is it bad that I head the beginning of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" on the radio today and initially confused it for "Humpin' Around?" My mind must be going.

The new Alejandro Escovedo album is pretty interesting. On one hand, he's the same, sometimes heartbreaking, always great roots rocker. On the other hand, the John Cale production is about as un-roots rock as it gets. One song even sounds a bit like, um, Prince.

I saw "The Squid and the Whale" today, which is a great script that doesn't overstay its welcome as a film. 81 minutes! Now that's my kind of caught-in-the-crossfire-of-a-divorce movie.

Also recently saw "Nine Lives," which is a treat for all those who stupidly predicted they wouldn't even be able to find five good roles to fill out the Best Actress slot. This has nine (!), and none is on-screen for more than ten minutes or so. Also saw "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which is great to look at but not quite as good as the last one; "The Weather Man," which seems to be saying 'accept mediocrity, especially if it pays you a million a year;' "Lord of War," a nice cynical movie about the arms trade; "Tell Them Who You Are," a doc about legendary cantankerous cinematographer Haskell Wexler; and "Network;" still great after all these years.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Yesterday morning I almost took my left cheek off with my razor. That’s because with each addition of a blade, razors become exponentially more dangerous. Now instead of one cut you’ll get three – or God forbid, five. Several months ago I cut myself with my razor of choice, the Mach 3 Turbo, so named for how quickly you can take off an ear. To be more accurate, I gave myself three parallel cuts that looked as if a cat had taken a swipe at my face.

The same thing almost happened today, though at least my survival instincts kept the damage down to a minor scuff. Hey, it’s a gamble I’m willing to take for a smooth shave. But as blades get wider and wider, it seems inevitable that one day someone will be killed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pull My Cheney

What would have happened had Dick Cheney actually killed that guy or, for that matter, if that guy still dies due to injuries sustained that day? Would Cheney have been prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter or something? He'd be pardoned any way it turned out, but surely law enforcement would be forced to prosecute all the same. A lot of folks not in line with President Job and Cheney consider them murderers already, which is a little hystrionic and hyberbolic. But imagine the tenor of debate were Cheney legitimately branded a killer. It'd be like Chappaquiddick times 10. I'd love to hear the excuses made for him, too.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What I've Been Listening To: Feb. 14th

Prince/12” Archive 2.0;Sign ‘o’ the Times

Flaming Lips/At War with the Mystics (first reaction: it sucks)

Dion/King of the New York Streets

Nuru Kane/Sigli

June Tabor/Always


The 6ths/Wasps’ Nests

My Bloody Valentine/You Made Me Realise EP

The dB’s/Stands for Decibels

Glenn Kotche/Mobile

Mercury Rev/Deserter’s Songs

Rolling Stones/Exile on Main Street

Radiohead/OK Computer

Public Enemy/It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Rhett Miller/The Believer


Crowded House/Recurring Dream


Bruce Springsteen/Tunnel of Love; Live at Winterland; Complete Devils and Dust Tour (every song played at least once on his recent solo tour, all 187 of ‘em!)

The House of Love/that reunion one that came out overseas last year but is hard to find in the U.S.

Pinetop Seven/The Night’s Bloom

Jeff Buckley/Live at Sine (Deluxe Edition)

Friday, February 10, 2006


And here's what sets the current admin apart from so many: the sheer arrogance. When confronted with damning material - NSA, Plame, Katrina - they either outright ignore charges or shrug and say, "What are you going to do about it?" What's distressing is the complete impotence of the Democrats, who call Bush on stuff all the time and never, never, never follow through. I can only surmise that no one wants to go down fighting, so comfortable are they with the status quo, as much as they may purport to bristle at it. But it's all smoke and mirrors meant to satisfy their constituents without actually risking anything. Infuriating. Grow a pair, you losers! That means you, too, Clinton, Feinstein and Pelosi, you buncha over-ambitious but underachieving pansy blowhards!

LA No Go Boom

With all the current administration has gotten wrong, inaccurately portrayed or just flat-out made up, why in the world should anyone buy President Doofus' claim that the U.S. gov't foiled a terrorist attack on Los Angeles? I mean, just asking. I've neither heard nor read any specifics in terms of sources or proof, at least nothing beyond the kind of vague stuff they long pinned on Pedilla yet mysteriously declined to prosecute. This is just the kind of crap a credibility problem raises. Maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe someone did try to blow up L.A. (again). But why should anyone believe Bush, especially given how convenient such a revelation is to his defense of the NSA scandal?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

What I've Been Listening To: Feb. 2nd

I was on vacation for most of last week, so consider this a list of what I was listening to a couple of weeks ago, plus what I've been listening to since I got back. There's a lot, and Baby Z. makes it all but impossible to write when she's around, so I'll add in comments for those who care some time later. Why do this? Well, just as the onslaught of year-end lists and the annual Pazz and Jop results always inspire me to listen to stuff I missed, maybe something here will pique your interest. It's all good: after all, why else would I listen to it?

Big Boys/Fat Elvis

Fugazi/Steady Diet of Nothing

Jaga Jazzist/What We Must

The Verve/Urban Hymns

Bailter Space/Robot World

New Orleans Funk

Alan Braxe and Friends/The Upper Cuts

Cat Power/The Greatest

Aphex Twin/Selected Ambient Works Vol. II

AC/DC/ Highyway to Hell

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci/How I Long to Feel that Summer in My Heart

The Kinks/Something Else

Billy Bragg & Wilco/Mermaid Avenue

Doves/The Last Broadcast

Depeche Mode/Playing the Angel

Warren Zevon/Reconsider Me

Saint Etienne/Travel Edition 1990-2005

Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound

King Crimson/Red/Starless and Bible Black/The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson: Volume One 1969-1974

Toots & the Maytals/Roots Reggae

The Go-Betweens/That Striped Sunlight Sound

This Heat

Nine Inch Nails/With Teeth

Guitars of the Golden Triangle: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar (Burma) Vol. 2


Elliott Smith/From a Basement on a Hill

The The/ 45 RPM

John Martyn/Solid Air/Inside Out

Dion/Bronx Blues: The Columbia Recordings (1962-1965)/King of the New York Streets

Beth Orton/Comfort of Strangers

Eleventh Dream Day/Zeroes and Ones

John Cougar Mellencamp/The Lonesome Jubilee/Scarecrow

June Tabor/Always

The Libertines/Up the Bracket

The Rolling Stones/A Bigger Bang

Midnight Oil/ Earth and Sun and Moon

Franz Ferdinand/You Could Have It So Much Better

Jay-Z/The Blueprint

Belle and Sebastian/The Life Pursuit

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

DVD Bummer

I had a bad feeling about this. So, after three and a half years, the Tribune is cutting my DVD column. What does this mean for me? We shall see. But times must be tough for newspapers when doing a good job, weekly, landing interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese on down, isn't good enough to hold onto a gig these days, even as a freelancer.


Still (putting on economist hat) - cutting content to save cash seems like a bad gamble for a business that thrives on content, no?