29 December 2007

'Legend' of the mawl

We're down doing late Xmas with the folks. We decide to do an after-dinner movie. Jenn and I are trying to choose the less violent film, between "No Country for Old Men," and "I Am Legend." After reading a few reviews, we lean to Will-i-am Smith.

We may have chosen wrong. Yah! Very intense. Better than I expected. But my violence-opposed wife was curled up in a ball or wrapped on my arm the whole time. (Hey, maybe I made the right choice after all...)

Not sure if there's a deeper message to the film, though. Other than mankind is hellbent on self-destruction. But heck, Leonard Cohen's been saying that for years.

"I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
But love's the only engine of survival
...
And now the wheels of heaven stop
You feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future. It is murder"
-- Leonard Cohen, "The Future"

28 December 2007

Tiger tale

In its dying breaths, after being shot for killing a young man at the San Francisco Zoo, a tiger has confessed the reason for the killing: an obsession with Kirsten Dunst and the "Spider-Man" movies.

The tiger's statement was released today by authorities. It expressed regret, saying, in part, that "maybe I took her whole 'Go get 'em, Tiger,' thing a little too literally." Then, with its last breath, the tiger wished the Cincinnati Bengals luck in "trouncing" the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

The confession quashes speculation that the animal — a 300-pound Siberian named Tatiana — was attempting to being the Cold War anew in retribution for years of imprisonment.

27 December 2007

90 miles to No River City

Indie music seller Miles of Music, who have great taste in Americana, list "Wolves and Fishes" by Atlanta's No River City as its top seller for 2007. That's over albums by Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Golden Smog and Scott Miller (whose "Citation" maybe should've made my own best-of list).

I'd kind of lost track of NRC several years back. They were an emergency backup opening band at The Loft when I happened to be there celebrating a birthday. (It was mine. I'm old.) And I say "band" even though they were just a duo -- with singer Drew de Man joined by a cellist/bass player. I enjoyed the album they were peddling, "This Is Our North Dakota," even if it didn't blow me away. The new record seems to rework many of those songs along with some new cuts, with a full band, to very good effect.

Wonder what it'd take to bring these guys back down to our city? We may not be Atlanta, but at least we've got a river.


Uhh, nice 'stache.

26 December 2007

At the good ol' hockey game...

Almost forgot about this, until Jenn reminded me.

So we're sitting in Row Gajillion at the Cottonmouths game on Christmas night, and it's a pretty heated game, I guess. We're up 2-0, but it's tense, and the large man a row behind me is getting louder and louder as he taunts the opposing team, the Knoxville Ice Bears. It should go without saying that the Ice Bears can't hear him, from his seat in Row Gajillion-And-One.

He dropped the f-bomb, which is a word I'm actually kind of fond of when there aren't lots of children around (including his two daughters, I'm guessing 10 and 6). We let it go. Then he says, to the team who can't hear him, "You (freaking) homo sissy-(arse) (pansies)." An artful and original combination of insults — no offense to The Gays — right? Jenn turns around and says, "Do you mind?" He says, "Sorry, ma'am." I say, "Dude, there are kids everywhere." And his wife, perhaps angry that her husband backed down like a homo sissy-arse pansy, says, "That's what happens at a hockey game. Things get rowdy."

All I could think was, those poor kids.

And now, in honor of the snakes...

Cloud NineKottonmouth Kings
"City 2 City" (mp3)
from "Cloud Nine"
(Suburban Noize Records)
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Napster
More On This Album

Getting graphic

Everyone drops their best-of-the-year lists about now, including me. But here's something a little different. It's Contra Costa Times reporter Randy Myers' list of the 10 best graphic novels of the year:

10. ‘‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier,’’ Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.
9. ‘‘Maxwell Strangewell,’’ Matt and Shawn Fillbach.
8. ‘‘The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born,’’ Peter David and Robin Furth.
7. ‘‘Planet Hulk: The Incredible Hulk,’’ by Greg Pak.
6. ‘‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home,’’ by Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty. (shown at right)
5. ‘‘Shooting War,’’ by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman. (This is satire on the Iraq war and the media's coverage of it.)
4. ‘‘Dogs & Water,’’ by Anders Nilsen. (per Myers, "A nameless man embarks on a lonely odyssey through a desolate, temperamental world. ... Nilsen is a comics poet, writing a story that perfectly captures moods, feelings and metaphors. Do read this man."
3. ‘‘Criminal Vol. 1: Coward,’’ by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
2. ‘‘Shortcomings,’’ by Adrian Tomine.
1. ‘‘Exit Wounds,’’ by Rutu Modan. ("...an elegant — and fictional — story that rotates around a Tel Aviv taxi cab driver trying to find out if his dad was killed in a suicide bombing.")

More time in the 'Stockade'

Thought I'd share this stockade story from a Columbusite named Bruce Kemp...

"I enjoyed your article on the 'Columbus Stockade Blues' in this morning’s paper and I wanted to relay a true story on the song.

"Back in the late '90s, Cheryl Ladd was a spokesperson for Buick Motor Company’s Golf Division. One year she was attending the Buick Challenge up at Callaway Gardens and a group of us ended up in the lounge after a long day at the tournament. After a short while, someone asked her to sign for the group. She and her husband readily agreed and jumped up on the stage, where he played the piano and she grabbed the mike. The first tune out of her mouth was 'Columbus Stockade Blues.' Needless to say, we were all stunned.

"When she returned to her seat, we asked how in the world did she select that song to start with. She explained that she was a child growing up during the cold winters in the Dakota’s, her father, Alan Ladd, would teach her songs to sing. 'Columbus Stockade Blues' was the very first song that he taught her and she thought that it was appropriate for the area!"

Thanks, Bruce.

And here's a video that Joe Paull put together for a WLTZ broadcast. It's Rick Edwards and Henry Conley playing the song and talking about it. And yeah, that's my bad shirt and bad hair on the camera. There's also a nice piece where Chitwood tour's the jail. You should see the link at the end of the YouTube video, or click here.


24 December 2007

Happy Decemberween!

Do you like Christmas so much that you wish you could, you know, marry Christmas? ... Me too. Mmmmmm, Christmas.

You guys gave me 10,000 hits for my present. Thanks for reading, all.

I'll be offline tomorrow. You should be too. Here's a little sump'in sump'in to tide you over. Christmas carols, electronica style!

Music Of Christmas FutureLucky Wander Boy
"Switched On Sugar Plum Fairies" (mp3)
from "Music Of Christmas Future"
(Ball of Waxx)

Buy at eMusic
More On This Album

23 December 2007

Way down in Columbus, Georgia

A lot of folks know, maybe, that I'd been working since February or early March on a piece commemorating the 80th anniversary of the old-timey song "Columbus Stockade Blues." Fellow reporter Tim Chitwood has been tackling the history of the stockade itself, which still stands.

Hadn't been working on it full-time, obviously, but on-and-off. Well, the story finally saw the light of day. Or maybe I should say it saw the dark of ink.

*You can see my story here.
*You can see Tim's piece here.
*And photographer Mike Haskey made a loverly slideshow set to music, graciously performed by Rick Edwards and Henry Conley. Actually having trouble finding it online, but if it's not up, I'll make sure it gets there tomorrow and post the link.

Two decades, two discs for 'Trinity'

Nearly overlooked this year among all the new releases -- including a great new record by the Cowboy Junkies themselves -- is a re-recording of the Junkies' formative "Trinity Sessions" album. Essentially, the band revisited the old church where they originally recorded the album and "reimagined" the songs. They invited along some great guest artists, including Vic Chesnutt, Natalie Merchant and Ryan Adams -- who probably needed some church time more than anyone else.

"Trinity Revisited" was released in October, and it's an interesting record. The band certainly sounds more mature, which is actually to a (minor) fault in cases where Margo Timmins' fragility was a big asset (particularly in my favorite track off the original record, "Blue Moon Revisisted"). But on other tracks, the confidence of the band makes something new and beautiful out of a song that you thought you knew. Check out the new groove and backbeat on "I Don't Get It."

The new recording is a two-disc set -- one CD and one DVD. Great last-minute Christmas gift for fans.

The Trinity RevisitedCowboy Junkies
"I Don't Get It" (mp3)
from "The Trinity Revisited"
(Cooking Vinyl)

Buy at eMusic
More On This Album

'Kingdom' to come

I avoided the movie "The Kingdom" like the plague when it was in theaters. The first trailer I saw, some six months before its release, offended the hell out of me. An elite team of investigators flies into what looks like a war zone to track down a ruthless killer? Please. Yeah, lets find that one guy who killed a bunch of people, instead of concentrating on all the enemy soldiers.


Exploitative, I thought. Juvenile.

Turns out it was set in Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. Having finally broke down and seen the film, I actually thought it was pretty good. Is it exploitative in concept? Sure. But it's about as well-executed as you could do this film under the circumstances. The characters aren't, for the most part, one-dimensional. Not even the bad guys. And, of course, Chris Cooper automatically elevates the level of any film he's in.

It's out on DVD on Dec. 26, and you've been avoiding it for the same reasons I had, don't.

22 December 2007

Wrapper's delight

Wrapping the presents is not my favorite part of the season, I'll admit. I'm a little OCD about that sort of thing. Crisp lines, sharp corners and all that. Wrapping soft, poofy things -- of which had I had four of in my charge this year -- give me the jibblies.


The most important thing to successful wrapping is good paper. I always go out to the after Christmas sales and pick up a few rolls to have for next year. Martha Stewart's stuff, from Kmart, never let me down.

Until this year.

Maybe the quality dropped while she was in the pokey, therefore not around to go all Hitler on her quivering underlings. But two of the rolls I bought last year were that horrid thin paper. The kind that just rips when you try to pull a corner. Bitch.

20 December 2007

Bad Santa

I was driving last night on Second Avenue, on Donkey, queued up at a light when I see in the mirror the headlights of a giant SUV bearing down on me. The behemoth whips around me, turning right on red, and I look over to give him the understood nod of "Hello, a-hole," and I see that it's none other than Santa Claus.

Seriously. It was Santa, in his red suit. He was talking on the cellphone, and as he pulled away, I noticed he had a Bush/Cheney sticker on his bumper.

So he's a Republican, and he drives an SUV. Maybe I should've guessed, what with the commercialism of the holiday, and the trickle-down economics of gift buying and all that. At least he was driving a Denali, which is named for a place that's kinda sorta close to the North Pole.

19 December 2007

Baby. One more time.

It's pretty much old news already, in Internetime, that Britney Spears' 16-year-old sister is pregnant. But if you didn't know....

The Spearses mother, Lynne, is quoted saying she was surprised, because Jamie Lynn Spears is always so conscientious. "She's never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby," she said.

Never late for a curfew, maybe. But clearly late for her period.

More Olds news

Rhett Miller, Old 97's frontman just issued a bit more news and some timetables for their new project and his solo effort to follow.

From his brand new e-newsletter:

"I have been in the studio with the 97's for the last three months and we are a couple of weeks away from finishing what promises to be our best album in ten years, if not ever. We are working in Dallas' Pleasantry Lane Studios with Salim Nourallah producing. Sonically, the album is dense and rich. It rocks as much as anything we have ever done.

"I will understand if you are skeptical about the truth of the preceding claims. You have heard a lot of musicians go on about how each album is their best yet (if not THE best yet), but when you finally hear our new record you will remember these words and realize that I was not merely trafficking in hyperbole for the sake of hype. This record has me jazzed. "


Promising, eh? The album is set for release in April, he says. And the band will tour most of the year after that. Meanwhile, he's "stockpiling" songs for the next solo endeavor. Unless he's jumping in the studio immediately for the solo thing, I wouldn't expect to see that record until much later in the year.

Sadly, they've taken the MP3 downloads offa the Old 97's redesigned Web page, which I linked to in my previous post. But there's a player there now, where you can still check 'em out.

Axl Rose is a fat bastard

No news really prompted the above statement, except for the fact that he "promised his fans" they would have the "Chinese Democracy" album by Christmas. Who really cares, any more?

Kids who were born the same year the "Use Your Illusion" records came out -- kids who have no firsthand recollection of Gn'R -- are now as old as I was when I heard "Appetite." It's over, Axl.

Oh, and did you know that Izzy Stradlin has released eight fine records in that same time span?

18 December 2007

Rachael Ray...

The Food Network is debuting an extra serving of Rachael Ray, with a new show debuting Jan. 12. It's called ‘‘Rachael’s Vacation,’’ and will feature the cheery Ray discovering cultures, countries and food all around the world.

I'm amazed at how she polarizes people. Why is it her personality grates on some, while other love her disposition. Me, I want her to, uh, bake me a cake, ifyouknowwhatImean.

So the question is simple:

Rachael Ray is...
Free polls from Pollhost.com
note: I just edited the post, as I originally wrote "hot she polarizes..." and "lover her disposition." I sure (hot sex) those were just (hot sex) coincidental typos (hot sex).

Battle for Middle Earth over!

The AP is reporting that Peter Jackson has buried the hatchet -- or maybe he's buried the shards of the Narsil -- to make "The Hobbit" film for New Line Cinema.

Make that "films." Plural. Apparently they're breaking the story into two, scheduled for release in 2010 and 2011.

Jackson had long been on the outs with New Line, feeling the company had shrifted him due profits from the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But really, did fans want to see anyone else direct this prequel?

Here's the AP release, though the headline is wrong. Jackson will be executive producer, but not direct, the film.

But where's the band from?

Of Montreal tops my list of the year's best music. I call it the "best music you never heard" in the newspapers, but I expect that blog readers have heard and may even own some of these discs. So no disrespect intended...

Anyways, here's the list, in today's column. (And that's not Of Montreal in the photo. It's the Apples in Stereo.)

17 December 2007

Gunfight at the Carmike Corral

The only film I saw this weekend was "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." The movie is even longer than the title, but I don't mind that. I've actually got a thing for slow, deliberately paced films, which is part of my fascination with M. Knight Shyamalan.

The same can't be said, though, for the seven brats behind me, all 20something men. One of them kept sighing with that exasperated, exaggerated lip-flapping exhale. Like four times. I guess they were expecting this to be "American Outlaws" or some crap, instead of an interesting character study. About two hours in, they finally all got up and left. "Beowulf" was showing just down the hall, y'know.

Really, with today's Internets and all, there's no reason to walk into a movie with no idea of what's in store. So I got no sympathy for 'em. I just wish they'd got up and left an hour earlier.

(What you've heard about Casey Affleck's acting is spot-on, by the way. He's fabulous. And I loved the bit parts played by Nick Cave and James Carville.)

"Now the people held their breath when they heard of Jesse's death,
And wondered how he ever came to fall.
Robert Ford, it was a fact, he shot Jesse in the back,
While Jesse hung a picture on the wall."
-- Traditional, "Jesse James"

Sound of Silence

Dan Fogelberg
1951-2007
He is a living — er, dead — legacy to the leader of the band.

14 December 2007

More like 'Dreck the Halls'

Three CDs landed on my desk recently. Showed promise. All part of a series called "Wreck the Halls," and performed by Santa Claws and the Naughty But Nice Orchestra. It's Christmas versions of hard rock tunes. One disc each for AC/DC, Metallica and Green Day. (There are others on the company Web site.)

From the Green Day back cover: "Have you been a bad boy or girl this year? Worried that Santa's going to deliver a bag of coal? Maybe he'll bring some dookie instead. Green Day's patented pop-punk has become as timeless as any Christmas carol. These all-new holiday versions prove it. From now on, you'll be singing about the Green Days of Christmas."

Uh, I made it through three tracks of AC/DC -- not even to "Moneytalks" or "Thunderstruck." Basically, they "band" (or maybe just a Roland keyboard) Muzakked up the songs and replaced the cowbells with sleigh bells. I had a coworker who listened to all three and ranked them (1) Metallica, (2) Green Day, and (3) AC/DC.

But I'm wishing these discs "Good Riddance." The makers shall remain among "The Unforgiven" for these "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap."

13 December 2007

Hall of Flame

The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame announced this morning its inductees for 2008. Here's a short bit on it. (Hint: It's Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, The Ventures and The Dave Clark Five.)

So the dish is, nominees Donna Summer, the Beastie Boys, Chic, and DJ Afrikaa Bambaataa
got snubbed.

I'm not arguing against Cohen, who very deserving. In fact, of the list of nominees, he's my No. 1. But I wouldn't want to be working in the HoF today to face the screaming Summer/Beastie fans who say, "You're letting Leonard Who in?"

"They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom,
For trying to change the system from within.
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them.
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin."
-- Leonard Cohen, "First We Take Manhattan"

12 December 2007

Listening to Okkervil River at home during Xmas

People who know me -- and to them I can only say, "I'm sorry" -- already realize that my appreciation of the band Okkervil River can best be described as "stalktastic."

So I'm more than a little excited to let folks know that the band has just released a free "mixtape" of cover tunes, for free, on its Web site. There's a little Joni Mitchell, a little Randy Newman, a little John Cale and a handful of others. They're culled from live performances, but the quality is excellent, and the price is hellaright. There's even downloadable cover art in Christmas and Hanukkah color schemes (or black/white for the atheists and agnostics).

Go get it.

Why didn't I think of this?

Jenn and I have taken to going to a Christmas tree farm for fresh trees every year. Our place charges $5 per foot, no matter what variety, and they give you a bonus hayride to and from the trees, some half-mile from the parking area.

Wish I'd thought about building this tree (photo gleaned from an e-mail pass-around, courtesy of Maggie & Bandit's parents) instead. Christmas decorations always give me a headache, so what's the harm in adding a hangover? It's probably more expensive than our eight-footer, when you add up all the bottles of what appears to be Grolsch beer. But think how tasty...

Sing it with me: "Grolsch rest, ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember that Grolsch beer is best to drink on Christmas day."

11 December 2007

Kralling all over me

Diana Krall is performing an April concert in Birmingham, Ala., with tickets ranging from $125 to $10,000. No freakin' lie.

Well, it's a white lie. The $10,000 tickets are for a table of eight. Still. They also include a special cocktail party. And for that kind of money, "cocktail party" had better be slang for "sex with Diana Krall."

The sponsoring Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center calls her "incomparable." Funny, I'd call her "a lot like Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson and Harry Connick Jr."

I love how Verve markets Krall's legs. I mean, music

Jennifer Loves to Chewitt

I guess you might say Jennifer Love Hewitt's bottom half more closely resembles her top half, per the ubiquitous shots of her from Maui.

Read today's column to learn how her big mistake wasn't in pulling on a bikini...




Hewitt, sans thighs
for your protection

Airline with a twist

We usually fly Delta, since we use a SkyMiles AmEx and rack up on free plane trips with it... But flying to Philly we found cheap seats on AirTran. I gotta say, if you ever get the chance to fly out of Atlanta's north terminal, the lack of crowds and chaos was night and day, compared to Delta central on the southside.

Also, the flight boarded amazingly quickly, and left on time. Oh, and there was free coffee at the gate. On the return trip, there was a 30-minute delay, but they'd already checked to make sure everyone was making his/her connections.

But best of all was the on-board "snack," which was a little bag of pretzels, baked (or at least packaged) with a sense of humor. See for yourself.

10 December 2007

Bad dog, no biscuit

OK, when you call a bar/restaurant to make sure the kitchen's open on a certain afternoon, and the people answer the phone, and you ask "Do you serve food all day?" and they nicely answer "Yes," and you drive into the downtown of this major metropolitan city, and you spend about 40 minutes trying to find a parking place, and then you just give up and park in a lot that charges $5 a half hour, and then you walk to the bar/restaurant in question, well, then you have the legitimate right to believe that the place will be open, right?

Apparently not. We showed up at the Good Dog Bar starving, post-hangover, at 3 p.m. -- about an hour after we called -- to find out that the place opened at 4. I mean, for crying out loud...

Now I'm going to have to fly back to Philadelphia at some point just to go to this same bar/restaurant, because I have it in my head that these unattainable items -- these roquefort-stuffed hamburgers topped with carmelized onions, and this baked mac & cheese with three gourmet cheeses and a cornflake topping -- have got to be the best damned meals ever.

07 December 2007

Streets of Philadelphia

Heading up tomorrow to see my buddies in Philadelphia. Mmmmmmm, cheesesteaks. (I'll take mine "whiz wit'," which means Cheez Whiz with onions, thank you.)

Jealous? I'd bring you back a cheesesteak if I thought it wouldn't get funky on the plane. You'd better just make your own.

Last time I was there, I ate at a Burmese restaurant and an Ethiopian place. Hadn't had Ethiopian in probably a decade -- the last time I was in D.C. ... I love the communal bowl, so long as you're with kinda clean friends.

Mama ran off with a Grammy

The Drive-By Truckers have been nominated for a Grammy. Well, sort of.

Soul singer extraordinaire Bettye LaVette's newest release, "Scene of the Crime" has just been nominated, for best contemporary blues record, per LaVette's publicist. And the Truckers were the backup band on that record, which was recorded in the Muscle Shoals studio of singer Patterson Hood's father.

Anyway, as big a fan of the DBT as I am, LaVette also rocks my world. "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise" was one of the best records I heard in 2006 (though it was out in '05), and I knew things would only get better when the Truckers were backing her up. Congrats, everyone.

06 December 2007

Splitsville

The Washington Post reports that the world's skyrocketing divorce rate is contributing to the destruction of the environment.

Essentially, when people split up, they live in two houses instead of one. So the consumption of land, housing and other such things is doubled.

So what's the answer? Maybe we should save the planet by making our marriages work. Or maybe we should only divorce when we're ready to shack up with someone else. I dunno. It all seems kind of silly.

"Our little boy is four years old and quite a little man
So we spell out the words we don't want him to understand
Like T-O-Y or maybe S-U-R P-R-I-S-E
But the words we're hiding from him now
Tear the heart right out of me"
-- Tammy Wynette, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"

05 December 2007

Making this up as I go along

While all the Indiana Jones references aren't too far gone, check out this band, what just released a new EP.

Good stuff. Kinda dreamy post-pop. If that's a genre. The EP is three songs, and you can download the title, cheap as free, by clicking on the MP3s link you'll see right here at the Secretly Canadian Web site.

And I'm assuming Throw Me the Statue is a "Raiders" reference. Even though I think the line was "Throw me the idol." Eh. Close enough.

04 December 2007

Wandering the Earth? Like Kung Fu?

Pamela Anderson was named TV's sexiest woman ever by AOL Television. (AOL has television?)

She beat out, in order: Farrah Fawcett, Lynda Carter, Heather Locklear, Eva Longoria, Diana Rigg, Barbara Eden, Katherine Heigl, Catherine Bach and Tina Louise. So, whatever Borat might think, the list is suspect. Hell, they got the wrong castaway and the wrong Angel du Charlie (Jaclyn Smith would've been the right one, FYI). I'd also take Nicole Eggert or Yasmine Bleeth over Pammy. She was pretty back in her "Tool Time" days, though.

When asked if she was surprised that "Baywatch's" CJ had become such an icon, she seriously responded thusly: "I never really thought about it while I was on the show, but as I wander around the Earth I realize how many people really knew and loved that character."

Dave Chappelle vs. Dane Cook?

The AP reports that comedian Dave Chappelle performed comedy for 6 hours, 12 minutes straight -- at his Laugh Factory. This breaks his own record of 6 hours, 7 minutes. Supposedly he did this to protect his record after hearing Dane Cook was planning to break Chappelle's record.

Here's the story.

I don't wanna jump on the "Dane Cook sucks" bandwagon, which is getting more crowded than a hayride at Pope's. But someone should inform Cook that there's a difference between "telling jokes" and making people laugh.

"Time goes slowly, but carries on.
And now the best years have come and gone.
You took me by surprise. I didn't realize
That you were laughing."
-- The Guess Who, "Laughing"

03 December 2007

Sign o' the Times

Driving home from work today (I'm down with a cold. Ugh), I see a pickup truck with a sign stuck in the back that says:

ask me about
CHRISTMAS IN IRAQ
For The Children

For the life of me, the only question I wanted to ask him about Christmas in Iraq for the Children was, "You do know, or course, that 97 percent of Iraq is Muslim, and so don't celebrate Christmas?"

(image stolen from here)

30 November 2007

Movies that (sort of) rock

Like half of America, I just got a Conde Nast magazine with a list of the 50 Greatest Rock Soundtracks of All Time.

Prince's "Purple Rain" is No. 1.

I loved the "Purple Rain" album. Who didn't? But to be remembered as a classic soundtrack, I think the movie needs to, um, not suck. I can't tell you how much Prince mystique disappeared when I saw him bickering with his "dad" whom, let's not forget, he still lived with.

The magazine's No. 2 choice, The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," is much better. And "Pulp Fiction," at No. 4, could probably have gone higher. Nice to see "Once" (No. 41) and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (No. 48) on the list too.

29 November 2007

Another reason to love the Third World...

A prostitute in Chile has auctioned off 27 hours of sex to raise attention (ahem) and money to the plight of disabled children.

I couldn't have fabricated that. Here's the story, including a picture of the woman. Her name is "Miss Carolina," and she's kind of hot, although probably unclean. OK, more than probably.

In related news, Neil Diamond, spotted in a health clinic seeking unspecified treatments, says he might have written his song "Sweet Caroline" for Miss Carolina and not Caroline Kennedy. Or wait, he said, maybe it was this Miss Carolina...

New Old 97's

You haven't even gotten past the headline and you're confused, aren't you.

Anyway, I became a huge fan of the Old 97's in the mid- to late-1990s, after hearing the song "Broadway," then ordering the album that carried that song, "Too Far to Care," and then playing the entire record incessantly for 2,304,387 times. More or less. Right around the turn of the century, I made my then-girlfriend (now wife) what was supposed to be a best-of disc of their stuff. It had eight of the 13 tracks from "Too Far." Go buy this record if you like roughshod, ramshackle, rootsy, country, punk, rock 'n' roll. Singer/primary songwriter Rhett Miller is one of the best turners of phrase ever.

Their last record -- 2004's "Drag It Up" -- wasn't a classic, but it had several great tracks. "Won't Be Home" is one of the best songs they ever wrote. But I thought maybe singer/primary songwriter Rhett Miller was spread too thin as he also put out two solo records since 2002.

So I'm excited to hear the band has wrapped a new record for 2008 release, but it's with some trepidation, since I hear that Rhett's also got a new solo project coming out soon. My best hope is that enough time's passed to let them build up a good stack of tunes. These guys are too good to hold down.

Get you some MP3s. Start with these. Then these. Then anything else you find here.

"If that phone don't ring one more time,
I'm gonna lose what's left of my mind.
Well, you made a big impression for a girl of your size,
Now I can't get by without you and your big brown eyes."
-- The Old 97's, "Big Brown Eyes"