Wednesday, December 31, 2008
That's right....Damon and Graham have buried the hatchet. They are going to rehearse in early 2009 and "see what happens." They scheduled a gig for Hyde Park in July that sold out in 2 minutes! So they added another one the day before. They have promise more tour dates (in America!) and possibly a new album.
Happy New Year!
I am a very happy man:)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Without further adieu, here is my list...
A Tortured and Wonderful Howl From the Heart
In April of 2006, Billy Lunn, guitarist, singer, and songwriter for the Welwyn Garden City, Hertforshire, England trio The Subways, was diagnosed with nodules on his vocal chords. They canceled several appearances in support of their wonderful first album Young For Eternity, including one that I had tickets for here in Minneapolis. Doctors said that years of intense screaming during his songs may have damaged his voice permanently and it was entirely possible that he would never be able to sing again. His scream, in many ways, is one of the best in the history of rock and roll. It epitomizes that Janovian wail that only true disciples of the medium can capture and convey. An excellent example of its supremacy can be heard in the song "Rock & Roll Queen", from Young For Eternity, a high-octane, balls-to-labia shag tune that is a must for any playlist. Shortly after the diagnosis, Lunn and his girlfriend (and bass player in the band), Charlotte Cooper, broke up. The question of whether the band would even continue weighed pretty heavily on the trio. With the future of the group in doubt, Billy started writing.
In fact, it may be the album of the decade and is, without a doubt, in my top 25 records of all time. To borrow from the late Heath Ledger from Brokeback Mountain, I can’t quit this album. It is absolutely infectious on just about every level. As I listened to it the first few times, I could smell the beer, the smoke (if not illegal in your city), the vodka-Red Bulls, the sweat, the women, and the absolute human glory that is the CLUB. Every time I listen to it I get the urge to be body passed in a slimy, hoard of humanity…my Chucks flailing uncontrollably…as I revel in the majestic splendor of the pit. Clearly, Billy's voice got all better:)
Much of this feeling is due to the stellar production work of Butch Vig (of Garbage and Nirvana fame), and one really gets the sense that this is the next logical progression from Nevermind… Brit-Style. The first four songs are like Ali’s fucking fist (”Girls and Boys”, “Kalifornia”, “Alright”, and “Shake Shake”), pummeling you with such might that you are immediately brought to your knees in gratitude for hearing such great music. The next track, “Move to Newlyn”, is a wonderful travelogue that brings you on a journey of self discovery around the United Kingdom. We get back into the power with the title track, “I Won’t Let You Down” (his scream at the end…OMG!), “Turnaround”, and “Obsession”, the latter of which has a terribly haunting harmony vocal by Charlotte.
Then we get to the track of the album: “Strawberry Blonde”. To say that this song is gorgeous is the understatement of… history. It is three levels above gorgeous and there hasn’t been a word yet invented to define the truth and beauty of this instant top ten love song. I will say, like any great song, it reaches into my heart, pulls out a jumble of words, and puts them together to describe exactly how I feel. The album finishes with “Always Tomorrow” and “Lost Boy”, another shovel-to-the-head stunner of a track.
I have listened to this CD pretty much every day since I bought it last summer and still have not grown tired of it. You won’t either. No one will.
Because Billy approaches life like I do…fucking mega or fuck you…All or Nothing….and it is magnificent. Thank God.
From the moment I heard the opening seconds of it, I knew it was the song of the year. I also knew that there was a reason why I liked it but I couldn't figure out why. Then when I visited the Essex band Magistrates' web site and saw that their favorite two bands were Prince and The Talking Heads, I realized why I instantly fell in love with "Make This Work." Talk about a combination! I adore the Talking Heads and my hometown boy? Let's just say that Prince's super funk charged and deliciously dripping with sexuality music has made me a happy lover throughout the years...
Looking at it from this perspective, "Make This Work" is a fucking gorgeous gem that makes you believe that all romance and all love are possible in spite of the simple fact that most people are dicks. In all honesty, the hope of this song is something I really need right now and so should you!
It is a rare thing when a film changes your life. My pick for 2008 Best Film changed certainly changed two lives as well as my own. Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona is an emotional gut wrencher in the most positive way you can imagine. The film reached into my heart, tore it open, and laid it bare for the whole world to see. Life, as the film states repeatedly, is lonely, dark, and often boring. This is why everyone needs to seize whatever moments of passion they can...regardless of how crazy it makes you...and cast aside conventional wisdom, and sometimes even emotional balance, to get to THAT place. For those of you who have been there, you know what I am talking about...:)
The story revolves around two women who visit Barcelona for the summer and how they each come to view romance, love, and passion through the events that unfold over the course of the narrative. What makes Allen's film so interesting is that it is not just about these two women. Every character in the film...even minor ones with only a few lines...convey very specific and wonderful ideas about the human condition as it relates to the female-male relationship. I found bits and pieces of myself in EVERY character in the film which lead to an enormous amount of self reflection after each viewing. I have seen the film three times and each time its impact on me grew, driving me to ask an amazingly intense question of my friends and of myself:
When faced with the choice of the comfort of boredom or the insanity of lust...which would you choose?
BEST TV SHOW
For the second year in a row, Mad Men is the best show on television. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible given how amazing the first season was. The second season was an absolute stunner. It picks up a little under two years after the end of the first season...the height of Kennedy era cool, which basically means I just jizzed in my pants.
So, Jack is president and women are either looked at as a Marilyn or a Jackie. Mega! Every episode was fucking incredible (mainly due to my girl, Christina Hendricks (left) and her amazing hips!) but the most interesting one was "The Jet Set" in which our hero, Don Draper, goes off the map on a David Lynchian experience in the wilds of California.
If you aren't watching this show, there is something seriously wrong with you and you need to get the first season on DVD immediately. The second season will be out in the first quarter of next year. If you do watch the show, can someone please tell me what the fuck Pete Campbell was doing with the shotgun at the end of the show?
Those are my picks for the year. What are yours? Leave comments below...
Monday, December 29, 2008
When Israel pulled out of Gaza, I lauded the move and was roundly chastised by several conservatives for being "weak" on terror. I predicted that some time would pass, Israel would lose patience, and then attack them as one sovereign country would attack another.
For those of you who don't know, the Israeli military has decided to end the mortar attacks from Hamas once and for all. They have been pounding Gaza for the last three days and well over 300 people in the Hamas stronghold have been killed.
While I find this loss of life to be terribly sad, I think the amount of restraint Israel has shown has been remarkable. Most of you who know me know that I am a staunch supporter of Israel so this opinion will not come as any surprise. Hamas has two central goals in mind in their operations: abuse their own people by ripping them off financially and killing Jews. It's just that simple. When they broke with Abbas and the real Palestinian governing body, they basically made their bed. It's sad that innocents in the Gaza Strip have to suffer as a result but I don't see that they have any other recourse.
As a holocast survivor once said, "When someone says they want to kill you, believe them."
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Apparently, O'Reilly and other conservatives have not gotten the message that our country has much bigger problems to deal with than how people greet each other at the holidays. General Powell was correct. It's time for the right to decide if they want to continue to yell and be divisive (i.e. lose election after election) or if they want to showcase their message, several items of which would have an appeal to a great number of Americans, in a more positive way.
I wonder what they will decide?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
President Elect Obama.
But, as luck would have it, the last couple of weeks have been extra special bowls of Campbell Soup so I think I now have just the right combination of venom, irritation, and semen to revisit some of the things that have really pissed me recently. Happy Christmas!
THE J WORD
A friend of mine and I were walking through the Eden Prairie Mall recently and having a conversation. We passed by a mother and two kids, roughly around 9 and 7.
Friend: I can't stand that guy.
Mark: Yeah, he's a real jerk.
9 Year Old: Gasp! Mommy, he said the J word!
Mommy: Just move away quickly from that serial rapist/murderer, son. Get away! GET AWAY! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!
As they scurried away in apparent fear, I wondered to my friend if the J word really meant the word jerk. "Beats me," he replied. I passed the whole thing off as me misreading things...as I often do:)
About a week later, I was at the Big 10-a restaurant here in Minneapolis. There was a family of five eating dinner and I was by myself-grabbing one of their great subs while studying. One of the kids said that he heard another kid at school use the J word. The dad told his son that the kid who uttered that word would be thrown into a boiling pit of sewage for eternal damnation. The smallest of the three kids asked quite loudly, "What's the J word?" To which the mother whispered, loud enough so I could hear, "Jerk. And don't you ever use that word or call anyone that. Keep your voice down."
Being the person that you all know and love, I turned to them and asked, "Since when is the word 'jerk' such a bad word?"
The parents looked at me as if I had just asked their children to videotape their mom swallowing one of their Dad's bowel movements (coming directly out of his butt and into her mouth) while I fucked her in the ass.
After they recovered from their astonishment, they replied, "The J Word is the meanest word in the world. It is a terrible, awful word that no one should ever EVER use. Please leave us alone."
I turned back to my homework, not dignifying them with a response and shaking my head at the sad fucking state our society has become. Now, I know for sure that there are plenty of you who laughed your asses off at what I wrote two paragraphs above this one. To be certain, there is one woman in Aurora, Illinois who just peed her pants. But there are probably many of you out there who were massively offended at what I wrote. By our society's standards, it was, in fact, offensive. I have no problem with that.
But....the J word? Really?
Have we become so vanilla, so PC, so terribly lame that we can't even call someone a jerk anymore? The word is universally accepted everywhere...even in G rated movies or films from the 1940s for cripes sakes....as being alright to call someone who cuts in front of you in line. Or steals a kid's ice cream cone. Or who won't use the butt crack to wipe it off before it goes back up into her mouth. Or who laughs at you when you are trying to push your car out of the snow.
Well, maybe the third one on the above list is more a common courtesy issue than jerk behavior but you get my point. I am so sick of this culture and its completely ridiculous and massively uptight rules about language. I feel like I am being shackled and thrown into an ever shrinking prison cell of what is acceptable discourse and I fucking hate it. Words can be made into anything they want. Say the word 'fuck' enough and it loses its appeal. I use it all the time and I don't have a single thought about it. It's just a word and it can mean anything you want it to mean.
Take, for example, the word 'chair.' In a recent discussion with an abnormally uptight individual who gets his jollies heaping and piling more restrictions on language, I told him that every time I said the word chair, I thought of a giant cock going into a big fat chick's ass. I then proceeded to say the word chair seventeen times over the course of the next two minutes. He became flabbergasted and cried, "I'll never use the word chair again" to which I replied,
"See? Now you know how I feel."
MEN THAT WON'T DO WHAT?
A couple of summers ago, I fixed up a female friend of mine (very hot) with a male friend of mine. About a month and a half into the relationship, she called me up and said, "What the fuck is up with your boy?" I asked her what she meant. "He won't fuck me." She then continued to tell me that he just liked to cuddle and kiss.
Now, normally I have no problem with this...some people like to wait. He just didn't seem the type, though, and when I asked him if he liked my friend and thought she was hot, he said, "Oh, yeah." Okkkkkaaaayyy....
Bit by bit over the course of the last two years, I have had woman after woman complain to me that their boyfriends/husbands/dates don't fuck them. Some go weeks...months...even YEARS without having their man make love to them. Excuse me?
In fact, it has gotten to be so many women (at least a couple dozen), that I'd like to know if I have slipped into an alternate universe...a universe where men are fucking lame. It goes without saying that women have traditionally been the ones to withhold sex. The fact that it continues is a bummer but a sadly universally accepted truth. But men? As I heard story after story, the rage inside of me began to build.
What the fuck is the matter with these d bags!!!???
Perhaps it is for religious reasons although none of the men I have met who have this problem strike me as church goers.
Perhaps they are gay and don't know it. Fine. Go suck some cock and stop wasting your time fucking with hot chick's minds.
Or perhaps (and very likely) it has to do with video games, the easy chair, the flat screen, fantasy football, Mountain Dew, Coors Light and mother fucking Cheetos. Men are just flat out lazy and have gotten use to a lifestyle that requires minimal or no effort. There seems to be no set age range in this group of twats. I have had woman complain about these men in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s. I have talked to some of these men and they offer many excuses.
"I'm just tired. It's too much effort."
"I really need a nap when I get home from work and then after that I am just shot."
"I just got a new video game."
"My fantasy football league had a late meeting and I ate too many cheese sticks."
Believe it or not, this barely scratches the surface of the problem. There is also a group of men, mainly ages 19-29, who refuse to eat pussy. I know...I know...please calm down. You might have to be calm for me because right after I wrote the second sentence of this paragraph I wanted to go out to the garage and get my shovel for an Albert Pujols swing right to the forehead of these suckditches.
Apparently, they just think it's gross or have a general principle (largely generated by social pressure) not to do it. To say that this offends me as man, as a lover, as a devotee of chowing box is the understatement of the fucking millennium. If you don't eat pussy, you are a suckwad. If you don't take care of your woman, you are a complete loser.
Dude, it's a chick's ass and vag...is there anything hotter?
If anyone has any other ideas as to why this disturbing new trend of men being mega lame is occurring, please post them in comments because, even with the ideas listed above, I still don't fucking get it.
WHEELS ON BACKPACKS
I was at the gym the other day and I saw a woman wheeling her tennis bag behind her. In her small bag was....one tennis racket...and as far as I could see that was it. Now I suppose it is slightly possible that she had a 20 pound weight in there but really the bag was so small (it looked like a child's bag) that I'm sure she just had some tennis balls maybe and some personal items.
At my children's school, I see kids with backpacks that have wheels on them. Sure, some might have heavy books but (cue grumpy old man voice) when I was a kid, we carried our heavy backpacks on our back. Have we become so lazy in this culture that we now have to wheel minimally weighted bags around like it's a 50 pound suitcase packed for a week long trip to Hawaii?
The answer is yes....yes we have.
And people wonder why America is falling behind in the world.
Look at this geek. Is there a way to gather all of the visors in the world and burn them? Visors are fucking stupid. About the only group of people that can pull of visors are women, especially the ones with long hair.
Men of any shape or size should not be wearing a visor. The fat bald ones who wear them look like morons. Bottom line (re: George Carlin): it's half a hat. Take it back to the store, say you were ripped off, and buy a real fucking baseball cap.
I guess the new millennial look for 17-21 year old women is in and it is this: T Shirt (preferably athletic themed), men's athletic shorts (preferably knee length), sandals (even in winter), hair tied up, and a fucking stupid ass lanyard around their necks with their keys, ID, iPod, birth control, lipstick, and whatever else they can fit on their because they don't have any pockets in their shorts and don't want to carry a purse so they can look all tricked out with that 'just come from the gym or pool' look.
There was a period of time a few months back when, quite literally, every young woman I met looked exactly like this. It was as if they had been churned out in a factory....manufactured by the thousands. Whatever happened to originality? It was murdered...killed by the lanyard!
And finally, for those of you who have commented to me in the past (via email, comments, phone calls, or personal contact) that I need to be more positive...have no fear! I may be extra curmudgeonly of late but I still plan on putting up my annual Best of 2008 before the end of the year.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Only true Vikings fans know (as nearly as long suffering as Cubs fans), they are going to take a dump in these last few weeks. If it's not in the regular season, it will be in the first round of playoffs. So, please, stop with the over hyper predictions of Brad "Denny's Menu" Childress taking this team to the Super Bowl and winning.
It is not going to happen.
Friday, December 19, 2008
President Elect Barack Obama has once again shown what this country is going to start looking like during his presidency. By selecting evangelical Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, our soon to be president has shown that we are not all divided and that many of us, regardless of our political stripes, share common beliefs.
While the left squawks (and man oh man are they squawking-hilarious:)) about Warren's anti gay and pro life beliefs, a more reasoned mind can look at Pastor Warren's beliefs and action regarding world poverty and social injustice. He believes, as I do, that it is every Christian's duty to fight against these two things and make whatever sacrifices are possible to end them.
I also think that Pastor Warren really challenged PE Obama's way of thinking on several issues when he was at the Saddleback debate last summer. If you look at PE Obama's life, these are the kind of people that he has surrounded himself with...people with diverse points of view who will take him to the mat and help him learn and grow. I'm sure Mr. Obama, being the reflective man that he is, realized how unimpressive he was in that discussion last summer and felt that Pastor Warren is someone from whom he could learn.
And it is a great move politically. Evangelicals, some of which believed the paranoid and delusional propaganda that has come out about PE Obama over the last 2 years, can now look at him in a different light. Maybe he's not a terrorist-Muslim-communist-pinko-socialist-baby killer-ultra left wing maniac as we have been lead to believe.
As I have said previously and ad naseaum, Barack Obama is going to piss off the left more than he is the right. So far he is right on track to do that.
That's my guy!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In fact, several anchors on MSNBC as well as reporters for the Times have said that President Elect Obama is answering questions in a manner similar to President Bush. Whether or not you agree that is true, it is kind of a head scratcher considering what the "all media are agin' us" crowd on the right are saying about both of these news organizations.
Ah, well...best not think about it too much. It's been a hard few weeks for some folks on the right and we all know how they need to have their enemies...even if they are, in no way, real.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
After I calm down, one word pops immediately into my head which accurately describes the people that are rushing out to buy weaponry.
The NRA and other gun lobbyists are clearly exaggerating Obama's anti gun stance to make more money. And they have a whole line of chuckleheads that are willing to believe anything they say. As Sue Fust puts it in the article:
The anti-Obama vitriol has been a fear-mongering tactic that encourages some very fringe folks who are paranoid and convinced that the United States government will really need to be overthrown one day by citizens with guns. This helps to sell firearms. It is therefore important for those selling guns who want to make money to either try to create new markets or increase sales to existing gun owners.
No shit. I guess Obama's line about clinging to guns and religion may have been more astute than originally thought. Thankfully, not all gun owners are are losing their marbles.
Considering all the problems the country faces, "you have to wonder how high a priority [guns] will be," Joel Rosenberg (local gun enthusiast) said. "It's going to cost millions of dollars" to institute new gun laws, "and how much political capital is he willing to spend right away? I'm telling people who ask, 'Don't do anything you wouldn't do anyway,'" he said. "If you were already thinking of getting a carry permit or ... a semiautomatic, well, maybe go ahead and do it."
No shit. And thank you, Joel for being sane.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
In records obtained by the Associated Press, Freddie Mac fended off regulation by (gasp!) paying off a bunch of people in Washington to keep the government off their backs. Internal Freddie Mac budget records show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were recruited with six-figure contracts. Freddie Mac paid the following amounts to the firms of former Republican lawmakers or ex-GOP staffers in 2006:
-Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York, at Park Strategies, $240,000.
-Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota, at Clark & Weinstock, $360,297.
-Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, at Washington Group, $300,062.
-Susan Hirschmann at Williams & Jensen, former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, $240,790.
The tactics worked - for a time. Freddie Mac was able to operate with a relatively free hand until the housing bubble ultimately burst in 2007. The internal Freddie Mac documents also show that 17 of the lobbying firms and consultants paid in 2006 were specifically directed to focus on Republicans and four on Democrats, with varying targets for the rest.
So, can someone...some conservative someone who has been bemoaning too much government interference as the cause of all our financial woes...explain to me how less regulation is the answer when it seems like less regulation was the intent and goal that got us into trouble in the first place?
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I would say that what's been mobilized to this point -- something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We're talking about post hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground-force presence.
Shortly afterward, then SecDef Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Sec Paul Wolfowitz called Shinsecki's estimate "far off the mark" and "wildly off the mark" repsectively. Wolfowitz went on to say that it was "hard to believe" that more troops, than the 150,000 that he and Rumsfeld recommended, would be required to stabilize Iraq.
Five years later....Rumsfeld was asked to resign after the 2006 elections, Wolfowitz resigned in disgrace as President of the World Bank, and General Eric Ken Shinsecki is President Elect Barack Obama's pick to be Secretary of Veteran's Affairs.
It just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?
Friday, December 05, 2008
"I'm happy to be wrong."
For a moment I thought I was in a parallel universe in which men flew, cars ran on garbage, and commenters on Kevin Baker's blog were rational. I asked him what he meant and what exactly he was wrong about. He went on to tell me how happy he was that President Elect Barack Obama picked James Jones to be National Security Adviser. He repeated how wrong he was about Obama being "soft" on military issues and even went as far to say that it was a better pick than Condeleeza Rice. Wow!
It does my heart proud to see this type of reflection coming from someone who I thought incapable of looking inward. It gives me...hope:)
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I realize this goes against all of the right wing propaganda out there about Barack Obama, surely eliciting the usual EEP! BLURP! QUARK! from some brainwashed minds, but with the nomination of former Marine Commandant James Jones (to the right of President Elect Obama and Senator Clinton in the photo) to be National Security Advisor, it is now a fact that our next president is determined to take out those who would use terror as a weapon.
In addition to being a 40 year Marine veteran, Jones has served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and as Special Envoy to the Middle East. He also acted as key advisor to President Bush early in his first administration. Jones is a Republican and has been described by many as a "warrior-diplomat." That is exactly what we need right now...someone who has the intellect to defeat the enemy in addition to being a blunt instrument, which is what ALL marines are.
This pick sends a message to Al Qaeda in Pakistan: Your days are numbered. With the head of the marines (and PE Obama) calling for months for a troop redeployment to Afghanistan, I think we can safely predict a major strategy shift in that part of the world. Factor in the recent attacks in India and there is no doubt in my mind that our future president is going to be pretty darned hawkish in the region.
With his plate full of economic woes, the pick of Jones, the continuance of Gates tenure as SecDef, and the choice of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, President Elect Obama has a team in place rife with experience and knowledge. He can spend more of his time trying to get our financial difficulties straightened out and rest easy knowing that the marines are on the job.
It's about fucking time.