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5.31.2005


We are all Hatebeak fans here at the Watts. It has been some time since I have posted any updates regarding Grey Parrot lead signer, Waldo and the band. Here is a link to the track God of Empty Nest, from their album Beak of Putrefaction.

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Long Overdue Show Update 

As always, there are plenty of good bands on tour right now. Most of these groups should be coming some place close to you, if you can't make it to Chicago.

TUE 06.07 - Junior Boys / Caribou - Bottle
THU 06.09 - Mouse on Mars - Sonotheque
FRI 06.10 - Rogue Wave - Bottom Lounge
SAT 06.11 - Stephen Malkmus - Metro
SAT 06.11 - Spoon - Vic
WED 06.15 - Ted Leo - Logan Sq Aud
THU 06.16 - Sleater Kinney - Riviera
SAT 06.18 - Stars - Metro
WED 06.22 - Eels - Park West
TUE 06.29 - Modest Mouse - Notherly Island
FRI 07.15 - Go! Team - Double Door
SAT 07.16 - The Constantines - TBA
SAT 07.16 - Intonation Fest - Union Park
SUN 07.17 - Intonation Fest - Union Park
SAT 07.23 - Lollapalooza - Grant Park
SUN 07.24 - Lollapalooza - Grant Park
FRI 07.29 - Olivia Tremor Control - Subterranean

I'm personally pumped to catch Sub Pop-ers Rogue Wave and The Constantines again. The latter I would highly recommend if you're looking to see a pure, fiery rock band, with a singer that occasionally jumps off of speakers stacks onto the stage or into the crowd. Also exciting is the return of the Elephant 6 collective's super-group, Olivia Tremor Control for what should be a packed show at the tiny Subterranean.

Also, for those still on the fence about Intonation Fest, Ali and I are having a house-warming party the Friday night (July 15) before the Festival. I hope to see all of you there.

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Sultry Seductress of the Month 

In order to increase posting on the Watts, it occurred to me that we Gigas need more to post about. Enter the first installment of this plan. I give you Sultry Seductress of the Month. For the month of June the Seductress Crown goes to Danica Patrick.

The 22 year-old Danica Patrick placed fourth in this years Indianapolis 500, falling from first largely due to a Matsura crash and fuel constraints. Most of us here at the Watts are Indy residents (or stupid enough to be former residents), so this Seductress hits close to home. She loves to be driven hard, she can handle very large things, and her ass looks great in that racing suit. I love fast women. Danica Patrick, we salute you.

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5.25.2005

Can You Make Me a Posuer-Tini? 

What exactly is the deal with the damn martini craze these days? They're as everywhere as Texas hold'em and white ear buds. At what point did a martini cease to exist as gin and vermouth, and instead morph into these wretched drinks that only serve one purpose: to convey an expressly stated sexual preference (dudes) or to look like totally cute with that new pink purse (the gals)?

Martini's used to be up there with scotch, black russions and other drinks that conveyed one's inner-badass. Now they serve as a syrupy fashion statement in an aerodynamic glass. These days a martini is no more than a nice watch or pearl necklace that gets you loaded. Unless they plan to have Bond hook up with Dr. Helga Cacknballs in the next 007 installment, I think bartenders should serve their apple-tinis and choco-tinis in oversized shotglasses and rename them "Blow me where the pampers is" and the "Here, I Pooped In This, that'll be $9.50."

If someone could just please explain this to me, I promise not to get mad.

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5.24.2005

Lounging proper 

Julian Sanchez, over at Notes from the Lounge (who also writes for one of my favorite publications, altogether now, Reason magazine) has a couple posts I thought worthy of a link.

The first, points out the ingenious of Mike Doughty. I'd always thought his use of lyrics was original, but it never occurred to me how they function as a extra textural component of the songs.

Second, posts about a noteworthy little exchange he had with a friend recently. Here 'tis:

From a conversation earlier today:
Me: Yeah, I think she won that debate by TKO.
Friend: Right, like in Mike Tyson's Punch Out.
[beat]
Or... boxing.


He titled the post "Triumph of the Simulacrum," and without comment summed up the kind of entanglement we have with our culture, ever changing as it is. But it got me thinking. I don't know who his friend is or how old they are relative to him, but this kind of exchange seems typical of the kind of gap that rifts between ages. What creates this lack of common ground?

It occurred to me that cultural experience is necessarily cumulative. As the meme goes, "X is the new Y." But what is "Y" to someone, that is, what is the appropriate, deemed to be universally accepted point of reference to one person, is entirely based on what they've perceived to come before it. It's also based on a sort of collective perception of concensus, which is something of a feedback loop.

Put another way, whatever it was that was my first introduction to music, at least whenever I was first self-aware of the music listening experience, invariably informed every music listening experience after that. I couldn't help but reference everything thereafter to the initial music. So for any generation, or peer group, that experience has to be different from every other, because one couldn't attempt to recreate that same accumulation of cultural reference by fiat. Which is not to say, for instance, that a precocious youth of today couldn't go back through archives of the neighborhood record store and discover the reference points of past generations, but because culture is formed as a concensus, unless every one of his peers (or a "tipping point" percentage) is doing the same, and in the same way, his experience will still be different than those before him--and by extension those after him.

I guess this may not be news to anyone, but I was just sitting in the kitchen at work and it hit me how inevitable this cumulative culture chain is. Some time ago, I made my peace with pop culture as it stands: music, TV, clothing, whatever. I realized that pop culture will always be something unique to a particular time and place, and my value judgment is without weight. Moreover, it was hypocritical for me to be such a fan of the impersonal and efficient workings of "the market," which non-judgmentally aggregates information across trillions of unconnected decisions, and yet somehow decide that pop culture was derivative and bass. Since then, however, while no longer admonishing the product of the global culture factory (not my phrase), I still had trouble reconciling the failure to sincerely bridge a gap with those younger and older than myself.

I think I may have finally figured it out.

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Splittin' Tens 

For those card players among us, definitely check out Michele Morano's eloquent take on Blackjack, from last Thursday's edition of Eight-Forty-Eight on Chicago Public Radio. I've never heard anyone so accurately convey the thrill of winning (and even the thrill of losing), the camaraderie of a group of players, and all of the things that make blackjack the best casino game the way that she does. It's short, give it listen.

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[sigh] 

The push to ban smoking in DC is back again, having once been triumphantly thwarted by a smart, and cool, grassroots campaign. I know I've commented on this before, and you all know how self-righteous I can get, but I just had to link to hyper-cerebral Gene Healy's take on this issue (from his blog Punditry by the Pound). Classic line:

"...do I really have to show a straight face to the worker's health argument in a world where we still allow people to serve as bike messengers, professional boxers, or big-firm lawyers (high risk of alcoholism, depression, and heart disease there)?...I think I'm congenitally incapable of sober argument with a despicable harpy with a boundless sense of entitlement like 'Lisa.' No further argument should be needed, beyond 'this is America. We can smoke in bars here.'"

[Hat tip to The Bit Bucket]

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5.23.2005

This just in... 


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The Blackest of Evil Dark Metal 

Via Coolfer, this is a fucking hilarious e-mail exchange between two self-described kings of black metal. Check out some highlights, and then read the whole thing:
"... i got your e-mail off the internet. i was surprised someone in a black metal band would use e-mail but whatever i guess we can't expect you guys to live in caves all the time (if you were serious about black metal you would though)."
"... Brace yourself for Witch Taint. it is extreme beyond the most extreme of extremes. let me know if i can e-mail you mp3's or if you are afraid they might cause your computer to melt (a possibility- you have been warned)."
"... it is a song called "necro-dreamraper" and it is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of pure evil. please make sure there are no sharp objects around when you listen to it because i want you to put our album out before you go killing yourself."

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Quick Head Count 

Let's get a quick head count of Watts contributers and readers that will be in Indianapolis this weekend. Tedro and I will be making our drive down to Nap-town on Friday afternoon. I'm sure there are plenty of parties a'foot (I think I know of at least one every night so far), but feel free to update us all on your personal happenings and expected locations throughout the weekend. Anyone going to the race?

I'm not going to the race, but if I were, I would be sure to dress up like this:


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5.21.2005

Living a Childhood Dream 

We all dreamed as children. I remember fantasizing about rolling around in a money pit after seeing the Duck Tales cartoon for the first time. I also recall how unattainable the giant stuffed animal prizes seemed at the annual county fair. However, this little shit shot for the stars and turned his fantasy into reality.

Source: KPCnews.com

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) -- A crane vending machine can be frustrating enough when you're trying to snatch a little stuffed toy from its steely clutches. Imagine if the prize it's denying you is your own 3-year-old son.

James Manges II managed to climb up the chute and inside one of the machines Thursday, swinging around for an hour amid the plush toys he coveted before firefighters freed him.

James' mother, Danielle Manges, said they had paid an early morning visit to a Wal-Mart in this northern Indiana city because he had been sick and was sleeping odd hours. After she denied him money to play the vending-machine game, he threw a juice box and climbed into the machine while his mother picked it up.

"Within two seconds he had climbed through the hole, into the chute and pushed the door shut so we couldn't get him out," she said.

At first, Manges thought it was funny: "He was playing with all the toys and hanging from the bar like a monkey."

She even bought a disposable camera to take pictures, as other shoppers did. But she soon became upset when Wal-Mart employees said they did not have a key to let James out.

Firefighters removed the back of the machine to free James - who went home empty-handed.

"He definitely didn't get a toy after that," Manges said.

I am 25 years old and even at my age, I am jealous of this kid.

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5.18.2005

Are you a Planeteer? I'm power of herb. 

Well, I've got some good news for all ya'll eco-friendly folks out there. Yesterday, Teton County rejected a developer's plan to put up a whole mess of shit around Teton Village, where the ski resort is, which would have permanently ruined tens of thousands of acres of open space near Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton Wilderness. Once you build, you can't get it back. This has been the hot topic in Jackson Hole for the past two years, and working at the newspaper, I read about the endles debate of build vs. preserve every freakin' week. Of course, working for the "liberal media," everyone at the paper was thrilled to hear this. Read the full scoop n'yah. Captain Planet would be proud, and I'm glad that I can gaze out at forests and fields of elk and bison as I head to the resort next year to shred the pow instead of a bunch of bulldozers and bullsh*t. F*ck Bush.



Soooooo, I also wanted to let you guys know I'm coming back to Indy/Chi-town at the end of the month, May 25 - June 5. I'd like to see ya'll if possible, either in Chicago or Indy. Let me know what you're up to. I'll be meeting up with Mackey and heading to Indy that weekend. That's 500 weekend, kids, so we need to party hearty and no one's gotta work on Monday. Also, there's a Jurrasic 5 show at the Vogue on Friday, June 4. NE1 down? And for a brief update on your's truly, I recently went to Vegas for a night and won $300 (and spent $300) -- I love Vegas -- and went skiing in the national forest with Dave "Fleshy Leshy" Lesh on Sunday. Yup, shredding the pow in May. I'm going again tomorrow, bro brah. Ehhhhhh ... it's the life. What day of the week is it? Does it even matter? Hey, isn't that your boss calling? Get back to work!!!

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Battle of the Ides of July concert lineup 

So I hate to make this another post, but, really I don't. I just bought a ticket to the Midwest for the weekend of July 15th. That Friday I will indeed be making my way down to Chicago, but for the Tom Petty/Black Crowes show at the Tweeter Center (woe shitty Tinley Park). So if everyone isn't already committed to letting their hipster-flag fly at Intonation, I'll be there with some of my Minneapolis cohort. Either way, I'll be around that night and following midday (and hopefully before the show) if anyone wants to chug some Old Styles with me.

Then comes Saturday, and this is the part you're really gonna hate, I'm going up to Alpine Valley for the Zooma Tour show, feat. Ben Harper and Trey Anastasio (w/ support from Jurassic 5 and some others TBD). Yes boys and girls, this is in invitation for your inner fratboy to get out and get down. If you've never been to Alpine, it's a great venue for this size of show/festival, and is only a moderate driving commitment for the Chicago-tied.

On a broader point, I'm all for independent bands, uncorrupted by the banal sea tides of homogenized pop culture, but I also really dig me some mindless jams too. I think few can outdo my own momentary lapses into snobbishness, having for some time tuned out the entire spectrum of music that did not fall into a very narrow band of 20th Century classical work and bona fide hard bop jazz masters (maybe guitar player Joe--Scott you know who I'm talking about). But those relapses are all but gone, and I think Tedro will agree with me here, I'm not ashamed to spin in a circle to endlessly arpeggiated guitar solos!

Plus who doesn't dig Ben Harper, especially on his new, infallibly gospel kick?

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Intonation (Djerrr) Fest 

The lineup for Intonation Fest got a little fatter earlier this week. Tickets are $15 per day with a limited number of $22 tickets for Saturday and Sunday, both of which go on sale today at noon at the website. Here is the totally Derrr-tastic lineup, with some nice multi-genre representation and no HUGE names to clog up attendence. More to come.

Saturday, July 16:
Tortoise
Death From Above 1979
The Go! Team
Broken Social Scene
Four Tet
Magnolia Electric Company
AC Newman
Beans Featuring The Holy Fuck
The M’s
Head of Femur

- DJ Stage -
Will Oldham
Jean Grae

Sunday, July 17:
The Decemberists
Les Savy Fav
The Wrens
Deerhoof
Andrew Bird
Out Hud
Xiu Xiu
Dungen

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What would you say if I said you could get blitzed faster on fewer beers? 

You'd say, "schlidanger'd faster? Why not get more sauced!" This story was in the Red Eye this morning talking about an herb called kudzu that, in clinical tests, has been shown to decrease binge drinking. The herb helps speed up the onset of the effects of alchohol, requiring party boys to drink less and still get equally tatored. So next time you walk into Kilroy's on Kirkwood, be sure to fire up your best "Sip! Sip! Sip! Sip!" chant.

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5.17.2005

Encyclopedia Chicago-ca 

For current, past and future residents of the 2-Chi-Chi, definitely check out the recently released Encyclopedia of Chicago, now available online in it's entirety. There are tons of cool maps and rich history to explore, if that's you type of thing.

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Let's See You Concentrate After This Post 

Quite possibly the three worst songs that could ever get stuck in your head:

3. "Informer" by Snow - particularly torturous because you don't actually know the words that you brain is is attempting to articulate.

2. "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochran - One gigantic chorus of a song, with the type of staying power that can only be eclipsed by...

1. "Place in this World" by Michael W. Smith - Not only does the sheer power of W. Smith's voice hold strong, but the raw potency of those perfectly reverberated stadium drums bring that chorus back and back and back and back. I guess I must be:
Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Also, are Michael W. Smith and the Latino-ish guy from Color Me Badd (far right) one and the same?


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Where the Action Is 

Or at least where the jobs are. Inc. Magazine recently came out with its annual "Best Places" rankings, which are based on recent and historical job growth as well as growth balance among sectors. I recently had the occassion to work with the author of this series, Joel Kotkin, who has written several books on cities and is "America's most sensible urbanologist." He understands cities and having lived in New York City, and now residing in Los Angeles, I think he has a unique perspective on the urban experience.

Now for the rankings:
Reno, NV tops this list (up from 13 the prior year).

Phoenix, AZ drops in at 16 (up from 28).

Bloomington, IN makes a surprise appearance at 19 (up from 236), but I think because of its size, its job growth is particularly sensitive to a couple of major employers moving in or out. As the article notes, "the economy got a lift when two health care concerns added 1,000 jobs," which is significant for any place, but a world-rocker for little Bloom-town.

Other places that may be of reader interest, St. Louis, MO comes in at 44 (up from 96), my future home Atlanta, GA drops to 84 (from a lofty 6), Indianapolis, IN at 102 (from 167), and Chicago, IL sitting stable at 141 (from 139).

Rounding out the 274-city list is Muncie, IN at 274: "Name a big employer in Muncie and it's probably moved out or downsized." I'm sure this is news to no one.

So is there any value in these rankings? Does job growth really mean anything worthwhile about a city's quality of life? Perhaps not. But in my discussions with Joel, it became obvious that the notion of a "great city" is so subjective and at times ephemeral (especially now with the Richard Florida, half-baked "Creative Class" craze), that's completely pointless to try to define a city in terms of how "cool" it is.

For example, I'm from New York (lived in the city for a while) before moving to Phoenix with family, to begin a long-term, dysfunctional, abusive relationship with this place. I constantly berate Phoenix for its lack of amenities, dearth of local culture, and simulacra attempts at uniqueness. But its a great place to live to some people, especially for someone edging into their 30s, married perhaps, thinking of a family...needing a job, wanting a house. On that measure, Phoenix has done very well, if population growth (specifically in-migration from other states) is any indication. It doesn't make sense for a city to pander to the hipper aspects of urban life, because it will always be a moving target. And ultimately, us 20-somethings simply don't contribute much to a city that is lasting.

Now, Chicago's my favorite American city. My standard line is, "it has everything New York has to offer, just slightly downshifted." But it's not a great job creator, and unless I'm old money, or a high-tech superstar, there's not as much opportunity there for (the average) me, much less for upward mobility. That is, in contrast with they city's outer suburbs, where I could actually afford to live (the life I want) while being gainfully employed. I guess you get what you pay for.

Boston is a place that most people would agree has a enviable uurban energy, central city focus, lots of pedestrian traffic, and lots of smartly-dressed, educated people. Yet it's job growth has been horrendous, and it's housing prices ridiculous. Which means, unless you bought a home 20 years ago, and you're fortunate to have tenure at one of the universites, the city provides little security, and again, little upward mobility for someone starting out. I've been fortunate to live there, and it was fun while I was in college, unconcerned about my quality of life. But as I get older, I just wouldn't want to repeat it, and a growing number of people feel the same. Boston has had a record number of college graduates leave the region.

San Francisco, which in many ways I think, is like a Left Coast counterpart to Boston, hasn't created a net new job in ten years.

All this rant is just something of a mea culpa for once thinking I knew what people needed in cities, and arrogantly believing that a city's ideal target was me: an effete cultural snob, with critical opinions of everything, and a narrow, exclusionary allowance for indigenous, local art and music.

The grass is always greener, but it's a lot cheaper over here.

[Macky: feel free to add pictures where you think it's appropriate.]

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5.16.2005

The Worst Movies Ever Made 

Here's a list of the worst movies ever made that I happened upon today.

I actually liked a couple of these, such as Howard the Duck and the horribly underrated Kevin Costner flick The Postman. The Postman did not get it's just due because critics had not fully expunged their hatred for Waterworld, and felt that they continue to hate on the Cost. I actually thought Waterworld was decent as well. I never really figured out why so many critics hated both films.

Aside from those two, I think this list is pretty right on, though it's missing Tomb Raider, Joe Versus the Volcano , Elephant, Volcano and plenty of other atrocities.

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Boldly Going Where No Watts Has Gone Before... 

Guys, I think it is time that we covered an important topic that has yet to be covered on ye ole 'Watts, smut. We are guys and being such we love pr0n. This is just a fact of life, in fact most girls like it too, however I can not vouch for our frequent female visitors. We are always sharing new likes in books and music, so why not smut too? Lately I have been a fan of the whole ALT pr0n thing going on. You guys know it, Suicide Girls, Burning Angel, and my new personal hero Eon McKai (no, not the one from Minor Threat, he would not apporve). Eon has made two breakthough films: "Art School Sluts" and "Kill Girl Kill". I must be a huge snob to even have indie pr0n, but fuck it, it's good. So the next time you want to go "rough up the suspect", check these out. For now check out Eon's new video for the Louis XIV song Paper Dolls at http://www.suicidegirls .com (NSFW). Enjoy. And feel free to post your own picks! Nutbag Out!

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5.13.2005

Slammin' Fresh Tunes 

Yup, so out of boredom during a slow Friday at work, I figure I'll throw down a wee post to the ol' blog. Can't add pics, since I'm on a work computer, but I'll freshen this bitch up when I get home.

Basically, since my ex-spouse decided I wasn't good enough for her and left me, I have a lot of newly-found free time on my hands...and am, once again, allowed to listen to my Satan-fueled music (I actually own not one piece of music by any band who worships Satan, let alone believes in him). Yes, while together, I was prohibitively restricted from listening to anything remotely negative, not even musics utilizing minor chords (TOO DARK). So, now that I'm back to me again, let me let you know of a three recent faves of mine.

Idiot Pilot - Strange We Should Meet Here



This is basically what I've been listening to for the past week or two. What we've got here, are two 18 year old kids from Bellingham, Washington that have spent too much time weening themselves on Radiohead and screamo bands over the last few years. But this shit is good...real good. A nice blend of Kid A-era Radiohead (this disc has a lot of glitchy electronics), Deftones, The Blood Brothers, and a little Sigur Ros-inspired ambience. This disc is all over the place. And, while it may be a bit too derivative of other influences, I'll look past that considering these fuckers are just 18! I'd buy stock in em if I were in A&R...and apparently Reprise/Warner Bros agrees, as they're rereleasing the album major-label style next Tuesday. You can hear the album in its entirety at their website. Impressive.

The Residents - Animal Lover



Man...I've been a Residents fan since I was first introduced by Primus' cover of Sinister Exaggerator back in '92 (they're Claypool's favorite band, and it shows with Primus). But anyway, these fuckers are just plain weird. NOBODY sounds like these guys, whomever they are, and they've been doing this for almost 35 years. This album, their first for the legendary Mute label, was done by the last remaining Resident (they started as four, then three, and had been two for the last 15 years or so), and is on par with what you would expect from the Rez. Weird. That's it, that's all you can say. Listen to it and prepare to be mindfucked.

Cyanotic - Transhuman



Ah, here's what we've been waiting for from the ol' ID. Brutal, harsh, nihilistic industrial madness. Produced by my beloved Jason Novak of Acumen Nation, this disc, by my buddy Sean, is a true piece of work. I mean, this shit sounds like the aural equivilant of bile being expunged upon sheet metal. Sean's gutteral vox, combined with beats rangning between industrial, EBM and drum 'n' bass, make this a surefire winner if you want music to make sweet sweet hate to. Awesome disc, and the fact that I'm listed in the thank you notes makes it even more legit. Buy it at either Cyanotic's site, or through Cracknation's merch.

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5.12.2005

No Chappelle? 

chappelle.bmp
So if anyone has been following the stories, or wondered why I've had my name on the comments as it has been...Chappelle has been reportedly, scared, in a psych ward in South Africa, or just plain on drugs. If you ask me all of this is bullshit. They aren't going to make the season deadline and are off somewhere trying to obtain some creativity (partying). No where better than the party capital of the world, Capetown, definitely not a good choice for one trying to get rehab. Anyway, I think the articles on it are funny.chappelle.bmp

I hate the fact that I can no longer have pictures on my screen. Hix, you gotta post up the Star Wars one for me since that shit be comin out soon. It can't be a link, it has to be on this blog.

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5.11.2005

Jesus Christ!!!! 

So it's been a while since I've posted, and I have quite a bit. We'll see how long I get before the work interrupts me. First, this is an hilarious article about Jesus Christ himself in West "By God" Virginia...or is he?

Second, I got an even better article that I've noticed a long time ago about Paper Rock Scissors. Sorry about the length, but you have to have password with the NY Times to see it....AND you're gonna love it. Seriously, LOVE it.

Rock, Paper, Payoff: Child's Play Wins Auction House an Art Sale

By CAROL VOGEL

Published: April 29, 2005

It may have been the most expensive game of rock, paper, scissors ever played.

Takashi Hashiyama, president of Maspro Denkoh Corporation, an electronics company based outside of Nagoya, Japan, could not decide whether Christie's or Sotheby's should sell the company's art collection, which is worth more than $20 million, at next week's auctions in New York.

He did not split the collection - which includes an important Cézanne landscape, an early Picasso street scene and a rare van Gogh view from the artist's Paris apartment - between the two houses, as sometimes happens. Nor did he decide to abandon the auction process and sell the paintings through a private dealer.

Instead, he resorted to an ancient method of decision-making that has been time-tested on playgrounds around the world: rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper smothers rock.

In Japan, resorting to such games of chance is not unusual. "I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision," Mr. Hashiyama said in a telephone interview. "As both companies were equally good and I just could not choose one, I asked them to please decide between themselves and suggested to use such methods as rock, paper, scissors."

Officials from the Tokyo offices of the two auction houses were informed of Mr. Hashiyama's request on a Thursday afternoon in late January.

They were told they had until a meeting on Monday to choose a weapon. The right choice could mean several million dollars in profits from the fees the auction house charges buyers (usually 20 percent for the first $200,000 of the final price and 12 percent above that).

"The client was very serious about this," said Jonathan Rendell, a deputy chairman of Christie's in America who was involved with the transaction. "So we were very serious about it, too."

Kanae Ishibashi, the president of Christie's in Japan, declined to discuss her preparations for the meeting. But her colleagues in New York said she spent the weekend researching the psychology of the game online and talking to friends, including Nicholas Maclean, the international director of Christie's Impressionist and modern art department.

Mr. Maclean's 11-year-old twins, Flora and Alice, turned out to be the experts Ms. Ishibashi was looking for. They play the game at school, Alice said, "practically every day."

"Everybody knows you always start with scissors," she added. "Rock is way too obvious, and scissors beats paper." Flora piped in. "Since they were beginners, scissors was definitely the safest," she said, adding that if the other side were also to choose scissors and another round was required, the correct play would be to stick to scissors - because, as Alice explained, "Everybody expects you to choose rock."

Sotheby's took a different tack. "There was some discussion," said Blake Koh, an expert in Impressionist and modern art at Sotheby's in Los Angeles who was involved in the negotiations with Maspro. "But this is a game of chance, so we didn't really give it that much thought. We had no strategy in mind."

As Ms. Ishibashi wrote in an e-mail message to a colleague in New York, to prepare herself for the meeting she prayed, sprinkled salt - a traditional Japanese ritual for good luck - and carried lucky charm beads.

Two experts from each of the rival auction houses arrived at Maspro's Tokyo offices, where they were shown to a conference room with a very long table and asked to sit facing one another, Mr. Rendell said. Each side's experts had an accountant from Maspro sitting with them.

Instead of the usual method of playing the game with the hands, the teams were given a form explaining the rules. They were then asked to write one word in Japanese - rock, paper or scissors - on the paper.

After each house had entered its decision, a Maspro manager looked at the choices. Christie's was the winner: scissors beat paper.

"We were told immediately and then asked to go downstairs to another room and wait, while the forms went off to headquarters to be approved," Mr. Rendell said. He described the atmosphere in the room as "difficult," saying both sides were forced to "make small talk."

Christie's will sell most of the major paintings in its evening sale of Impressionist and modern art on Wednesday. It hopes the star of the group, Cézanne's "Large Trees Under the Jas de Bouffan" (1885-1887), will sell for more than $12 million.

Auction houses give each sale a code name to identify it. Christie's is sticking with "Scissors."

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting for this article from Tokyo.

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Lets Get Back to the Basics 

The Watts seems to have lost it's course a little bit in recent weeks and months. We're all very interesting, intelligent, and highly elite individuals, and we should use this forum to brag about ourselves more often. I propose that we get back to what this blog was meant for in the first place - keeping up with each other's daily crappenings.

Chicago is going well for me. I now live in family-friendly confines of Roscoe Village on the North Side. It's boring as all hell compared to Wicker Park, and I can't wait to get back there when my 1 month sublet ends here. There is a nice bar that just opened across the street. It's owned by three brothers in their 20s. Usually I'll pay for a beer or two and walk out of there after having 4 or 5. The place just opened, so the the bartenders have been buying drinks like crazy. Aside from that, you pretty much have to walk at least half a mile to find something to do, or a decent eatery for chow time.

I now have THREE parking tickets within the last two weeks as a result of being parked in a temporary street cleaning zone. The city cleans the fucking streets here like once a week. They're not dirty! Don't clean them so often! Give the money to the damn CTA, they could use it. Stop this evil and overreaching revenue source!

My ex-coworker, Rob, made a futile attempt at buying my baseball allegiance with a free ticket to the Cubs game last Saturday. One thing I learned is that, with wind, 65 degrees outside means 35 degrees inside that freezer they call Wrigley. On the upside, Will Ferrell threw out the opening pitch (preceded by at least one balk, a throw to 1st that hit a camera man, a throw to 2nd that went into the outfield, and a conference at the mound with catcher Mike Barrett), and did a little "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" Harry Carey-style. I can't believe Wrigley Field still employs pissing trough technology in their mensrooms. They must be the only ballpark in the majors to maintain such raw, non-elite facilities.

I'm off to catch my boy Prefuse 73 at the Empty Bottle this Friday with Lady and A-Ron. I'm sans-internet at home, so the updates will be coming slow on my end for the next few weeks. Let's hear from some of you other "contributers." Nowak, I know you got the stories.

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5.09.2005

How heathenous art thou? 

Because blogs were devised solely as an instrument to proliferate quizzes, here's one on morality. They call it their Taboo quiz, and it uses an index of permissiveness and moralising to place you on a grid of morality.

My results, in part said:
"...you don't think that an action can be morally wrong solely for the reason
that it harms the person undertaking it. More significantly, when asked about
each scenario, in no instance did you respond that harm had resulted.
Consequently, it is a puzzle why you think that any of the actions depicted here
are of questionable morality."

Apparently I'm morally confused. Are you?

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5.05.2005


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5.04.2005

And Boom Goes the Dynamite. 

Whether you believe it or not, each of one of you who write on this blog are journalists. Granted, The Gig may not be spawning any baby Ted Koppels (baby Teds?), but everyone certainly carries their weight as a writer here in some respect. As a journalism major, I have always maintained the belief that arming concise communication with a relentless creative front can move mountains. Brian Collins, telecommunications major(?) at Ball State University, has yet to fully understand this concept. In a nutshell, Collins completely raped a sports news broadcast on the school's television station. To make matters worse, Collins neglected to quit while he was...well, behind. Be forewarned, for this clip is painful to watch. Brian's only Hail Mary was his zesty one-liner, "And boom goes the dynamite." Unfortunately, the dynamite went boom in Brian's mouth.
Watch the clip: http://media.ebaumsworld.com/sportsnews.wmv

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EAT MY POST! 

Because, I have no capacity to discuss anything else... a look at a few albums I've picked up or stolen off the internets so far in 2005:

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Caribou - The Milk of Human Kindness
Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
M. Ward - Transistor Radio
Decemberists - Picaresque

Dissapointments:

Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth
Prefuse 73 - Surrounded by Silence
Beck - Guero

So-So:

Mindless Self Indulgence - You'll Rebel to Anything
M.I.A. - Arular
The Books - Lost and Safe
Mike Jones - Who is Mike Jones?
Four Tet - Everything Estatic

Sorry I.D., but while the new Nails has it's moments, it is without a doubt an overall letdown. Where is that NIN punch? It's gone. Gone for good it would appear. The same goes for the two other personally anticipated releases from Beck and Prefuse 73. Beck plays it safe, with too many "Na na na"-type choruses, and a general lack of wit this time around. The new Prefuse kicks hard at times, but ends up coming off confused, sounding like a glorified compilation CD. MIA, good, but not worth the hype she got, IMO. I'm still waiting for something to kick my ass in 2005.

Also, if you're looking for a good laugh, Alison has a post about our adventues in the Magical Dome of Energy this weekend. Is THIS how you want to live your life, Teddy? Straight to the dome Tedro, straight... to... the... dome.

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Um... 

...can a nigga get an update??? I got nothing interesting to share, but I'm sure one of yous does. Come on!

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