Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Anniversary



I looked up the date yesterday and it turns out it was the 15th anniversary of the passing of Bill Hicks. Here's a taste from the man himself circa 1993.

Friday Random Ten


Animals -- Talking Heads
Imagine -- John Lennon
Ego Tripping At The Gate -- The Flaming Lips
Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking -- Snow Patrol
When It Rains -- X
Friend Of A Friend -- Foo Fighters
Burning With Optimism's Flame -- XTC
Natural Disaster -- Andrew Bird
Buzz Buzz -- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Sing Me Spanish Techno -- The New Pornographers

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tiger



As many of you may well be aware, no fan of Tiger Woods am I. I find the fist pumping, pouting after a bad shot and cheap theatrics to be the antithesis of a professional athlete.

That said, he's a very gifted individual and evidently is returning to the tour next week making the entirety of the remainder of the PGA Tour terribly irrelevant. Whatever.

He makes a nice putt here, tho'...

Man of Steele

Michael Steele is doing an awfully good job of playing the fool for the loyal opposition. Of course then again, I always figured he was into hip-hop.

Check out who was separated at birth...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Random Ten


0:15:00 -- Chomsky
Handshake Drugs -- Wilco
I Turn My Camera On -- Spoon
Primary -- Spoon
Blitzkrieg Bop -- The Ramones
The Gift -- Annie Lennox
Three Days -- Jane's Addiction
There You Are In Me -- Nellie McKay
A Long Way Down -- Brian Eno
Barbecutie -- Sparks

Bonus face transplant cut:

Lady Day -- Lou Reed

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mencken's Creed


Feels like a good day for a little H.L. Mencken...I mean, c'mon...how can you not like a guy whose epitaph reads, "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner, and wink your eye at some homely girl."

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
I believe in the reality of progress.
I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

Bravo!



This video is a little long, but turn up your speakers and enjoy. You will not be disappointed...

Lance Mannion


Mr. Mannion leads us to water...go ahead...have a sip, it's very refreshing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

V.D.





This Brett Erlich kid is all the rage with the hipster kids out there in Slackerland. I dig his irreverent style too...



(hat tip to Mr. Janos on this one)

That's some list!


Here's the list of cuts made by a coalition of whatevers last week on the Big Stim. As for me, I belonged to the "in for a penny, in for a pound", crowd.

The economy is fucked as it is, why not just double down at this point and hope for the best.

Feel The Burns


I guess this "gal" wasn't fooling around with the exercise regimen. Next week...Ru Paul forces Monty Burns to do 1000 Ab Crunches.

It's also special that the victim's name in this sordid tale is James Mason. It's like a local production of Lolita gone horribly, horribly awry.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Studs


This Ken Silverstein piece was on the Harpers website today and I wasn't sure it could be viewed without a subscription. Since I'm a subscriber and you're potentially not, I copied it to my page for your enjoyment.

I do miss that Studs. He was one of the reasons I loved living in Chicago.


Killing time before the Studs Terkel memorial celebration in Chicago on January 30, I glanced up at the magnificent Tiffany dome of the Chicago Cultural Center and noticed it was ringed with a quotation from Joseph Addison: “Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.”

It seemed a fitting backdrop to Studs’s brilliant run as an interviewer and author, but paradoxical nonetheless. Chicago was Studs’s stage, his inspiration and his beloved home, but the Second City was never really hospitable to his left-wing dissent and often hostile to his deeply intellectual nature. Throughout his broadcast, writing and acting career, Studs did his best to keep serious ideas—literary, political, historical and musical—in play, but in Chicago, Addison signifies only one thing: a street where the Cubs play baseball.

To be sure, the third floor of the Cultural Center was packed with up to 400 intelligent, well-spoken people. Among them was the former WFMT program manager and announcer, Norman Pellegrini, who with the late Ray Nordstrand helped invent the institution that Studs became on the radio. I grew up enamored of those resonant, cosmopolitan voices, which brought light and cheer on frigid days and evenings when all of Cook County felt like it was hibernating — physically and philosophically. Winter is Chicago’s emblematic season and by the time the event began at 6 p.m., the temperature along Michigan Avenue had fallen to 13 degrees.

The speakers, drawn from Studs’s wide array of devoted friends, leaned heavily on anecdote, ranging from the eloquent to the funny to the tragicomic. Studs the kinetic force and anti-snob, arguing politics with uptight yuppies at his bus stop; Studs, randomly passing out photocopies of articles on the bus to work; Studs, relentlessly interviewing “ordinary” people (an adjective he loathed for its “patronizing air”) on the train to Washington for the big 1963 civil-rights rally and even when he didn’t have his tape recorder. Sydney Lewis, Studs’s longtime collaborator on radio and books, stole the show when she recalled the first time she met him, at the Quiet Knight, a North Side club where she worked as a waitress in the late 1970s. When Lewis tried to take Studs’s order, he launched a thorough inquiry into her life, to the point where she finally lost patience: “Mr. Terkel, I read Working, I loved Working, but right now I am working. What do you want to drink?”

With all the tributes, it was left to the “outsider” from New York, AndrĂ© Schiffrin, Studs’s editor and publisher, to appraise Terkel the intellectual who raised popular oral history to an importance and respectability it had never previously enjoyed. It’s fair to rank the 42-year Schiffrin-Terkel partnership with other great editorial alliances, such as Maxwell Perkins and Ernest Hemingway, for the cultural impact of Studs’s interview books (not to mention the sales) has been immense. Impossible now to forget or ignore the bottom-up histories of the Great Depression (Hard Times) and World War II (“The Good War”), or the eternal plight of the working class (Working) with all those millions of copies in print.

I confess that I also used to pigeonhole Studs as a “character” and “political radical”—that I didn’t fully appreciate the subtlety of his intelligence or his writing. We first met at a 1976 fundraiser for Fred Harris’s populist presidential campaign, which took place in the weirdly uncomfortable Coho Room of the old Holiday Inn on Lake Shore Drive. The space was too small for the overheated crowd—a mistake by the organizers, including me—but Studs was unfazed. He ratcheted up the audience like no one I’ve ever seen; then, borrowing from some long-forgotten pitchman, played a kind of “Simon Says” trick: He told everyone to reach high up in the sky, then loooow down to the ground, and finally (after a significant pause for effect), deeeep into their pockets. It brought the house down—and the wallets out.

Years later, in 1992, when Studs interviewed me on WFMT, I got a better sense of his wide knowledge of American literature and history. But it wasn’t until I attended a small dinner at Schiffrin’s Manhattan apartment—I think it was 2002—that I realized the extent of Studs’s sophistication. Besides Studs, the guest star was Jonathan Miller, the English polymath, whose career as medical doctor, comedian, theater director, and author makes him one of the world’s leading public intellectuals. Studs was quite hard-of-hearing but he was still very acute. The conversation turned to British playwrights of a bygone age, none of whom I’d heard of. Then, suddenly, the table-wide discussion became a two-way street: Studs and Miller just talked, including lots of quoting lines, while the rest of us listened. I can’t say which man was more erudite or spoke more authoritatively.

On another occasion, late one night in the lobby of the Iroquois Hotel (his preferred Manhattan hotel after the Royalton went glitzy), Studs regaled me by reciting full-length poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, one of many poets whose work he knew by heart. As the mordantly witty Sydney Lewis told me, Studs had a lot of extra time for reading in the early 1950s, when the anti-communist witch hunters put him on the blacklist and he lost his television show.

I don’t know how Studs managed to “get the truth from people even when they were lying to themselves,” as AndrĂ© Schiffrin put it. But I do believe that Studs, the great democrat, would have agreed that Democratic Chicago (not to mention American democracy) is something of a lie, one all too often concealed by self-deceivers pretending that the Daley machine has turned “liberal” and more “open,” especially with the advent of Barack Obama.

Living witness to five decades of boss rule, most of it by the Daleys, is Leon Depres, who came to the memorial in a wheelchair, just three days short of his 101st birthday. Depres appeared in Studs’s 1995 Coming of Age compilation about the elderly, and seemed as clearheaded as in the days when, as Fifth Ward alderman from the Hyde Park neighborhood, he defied Mayor Richard J. Daley (his son Richard M. Daley is now mayor) as part of the tiny independent block—at its peak numbering five—in the 50-member City Council. When I asked him who today would qualify as an independent alderman, he could think of only one: Joe Moore of the 49th Ward.

No friend of the Daleys (though he appreciated the current mayor naming a bridge for him), Studs called himself a “radical conservative,” asserting that “radical means getting to the core of things.” At the core of his life was the importance of memory and of hope. His great friend Nelson Algren, the moody chronicler of hopeless Chicago, rebuked “The City of I Will” by asking, through his fictional characters, “What if I can’t?” Studs valiantly resisted that question all his life; he knew plenty of real-life Frankie Machines (Algren’s drug-addicted anti-hero from The Man With the Golden Arm), but he never joined them in their despair.

But Studs was hardly a Polyanna. In his lovely memoir, Touch and Go, he railed against America’s loss of memory—a “national Alzheimer’s.” Though he wrote the book toward the end of the last Bush Administration, I think his analysis still applies today as President Obama recycles the people and policies of the Clinton Administration while the military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan grind on: “Basically, there is an affront going on, an assault on our intelligence and sense of decency. We have a language perverted, a mind low-rated, and of course, the inevitable end result — forgetfulness…. When there’s no yesterday, a national memory becomes more and more removed from what it once was, and forgets what it once wanted to be.”

Speaking of Depression



It appears that there is now real help out there for the perky who walk among us...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

RFT...kinda depressing mid-february edition


How's It Gonna End -- Tom Waits
Summertime Rolls -- Jane's Addiction
You Gotta Feel It -- Spoon
The City Is Here For You To Use -- The Futureheads
Hummingbird --Wilco
Line Check --Fleshtones
Little Sister --Dwight Yoakum
Night In My Veins -- The Pretenders
Everyone -- Bon Savants
War -- Mos Def

Bonus Dub beat:

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner -- Black Uhuru

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Easy Skankin'



Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds…

I forgot to mention that yesterday would've been Bob Marley's 63rd birthday. Happy B-Day, Bob. This one's for Michael Phelps...

Young MC



It's dance party Saturday. And yes, that's Flea on the bass.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I Scream


Flavors inspired by the former CIC.

Friday Random Ten


Otherside -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Bathwater -- No Doubt
I Found Out -- John Lennon
Prom Theme -- Fountains Of Wayne
Sleepwalkin' -- Modest Mouse
Motorcycle -- Iggy Pop
California Sun -- The Ramones
Public Service Announcement -- The Bravery
Narc -- Interpol
Truly, Truly -- The Fags

Bonus long titled track:

A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left -- Andrew Bird

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Video



It was difficult to find a quality video of The Cramps. Here's one of my fave tunes of theirs...Hully, hully gulley.

Erick Purkhiser



Lux est morte! Woe is me, Lux Interior dead at 62.

In the spring of 1976, The CRAMPS began to fester in a NYC apartment. Without fresh air or natural light, the group developed its uniquely mutant strain of rock’n’roll aided only by the sickly blue rays of late night TV. While the jackhammer rhythms of punk were proliferating in NYC, The CRAMPS dove into the deepest recesses of the rock’n’roll psyche for the most primal of all rhythmic impulses -- rockabilly -- the sound of southern culture falling apart in a blaze of shudders and hiccups. As late night sci-fi reruns colored the room, The CRAMPS also picked and chose amongst the psychotic debris of previous rock eras - instrumental rock, surf, psychedelia, and sixties punk. And then they added the junkiest element of all -- themselves.

— J. H. Sasfy, Professor of Rockology, from the liner notes of The Cramps 1979 release Gravest Hits

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bingo

In this edition of what Digby said.

Aptera


It's an iPod with wheels...Check out this cool little beast on video.

Their main home page is here...

Vetting


WTF is wrong with Team Obama's vetting process for his cabinet appointees.? First, Geithner, then Daschle and now another "I didn't pay taxes on household cleaning" scandal...

As for me, I never really liked Daschle and completely agree with Katrina Vanden Heuvel's assessment on cutting Daschle loose and giving Howard Dean the nod as the new head of HHS.

UPDATE: Huh, evidently, I'm very influential...

More video



I was always a big Bill Hicks fan.
Anyone who referred to his act as "Chomsky with dick jokes" was fine by me.

Anyway, he died 15 years ago this month from pancreatic cancer and his reputation as a cutting edge comic has spread wide and far since then. In what would prove to be his last appearance on Letterman in late '93, he was famously cut out of the broadcast due to what was deemed to be objectionable material by the Letterman staff.

Last week, Dave took the brunt of the blame himself and brought Bill Hicks' mom on to the show to apologize for this mistake and finally air the routine Bill did that long ago night.

Good on you, Dave and RIP Bill Hicks...

Nuthin new under the sun



It's all Pachelbel...all the time.

hat tip to twotongreenblog

Monday, February 02, 2009

My personal nemesis


War Criminal attempts to ride public transportation. Film at 11:00

As some of you may be aware, I hated Rumsfeld most of all. Nice to see that his level of significance has finally reached his status as a citizen. Next time he perchance rides the bus, I hope he sits in gum.

(coughs) Asshole.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Oh, that's Rich


Frank Rich, that is...FR weighs in on the week that was, filled with the sturm and drang that Rush brings to the table.

Little bit of Luckovich to start off this balmy 41 degree Sunday as well...