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1.30.2006

Eyeing Summer Concert Season 

Thanks to PFFR for the heads-up on this informative article from the Chicago Sun-Times today. It was previously reported that Pitchfork and Intonation have split ways and will be organizing seperate festivals this coming summer. Both organizers are eyeing a return to Union Park, with tentative dates of June 24-25 (Intonation) and July 29-30 (Pitchfork). So long as tickets are still a dirt-cheap $15/day, I'll be hitting both.

There's also talk of Lollapalooza returning to Grant Park Aug 4-6 for a second one-off festival. Also getting in to the festival game is local promoter Jam Productions, who are also seeking permits and a date for a Grant Park festival. This summer is shaping up to be better than '05.

On top of that, live music is finally starting to pick up after a long Holiday lull. Here's a list of quality shows on the radar. As always, you fine folks are invited to come up and visit.

FRI 2/17 - Stars + Elected - Metro
TUE 2/28 - Meat Beat Manifesto + Dalek - Abbey Pub
FRI 3/10 - Belle & Sebastian + New Pornographers - Rivera
MON 3/13 - The Books - Schubas
MON 3/20 - Hot Chip - Subterranean
TUE 3/21 - Justus Kohnke - Empty Bottle
THU 3/23 - Destroyer + Magnolia Electric Co. - Abbey Pub
FRI 3/31 - Robert Pollard + High Strung - Metro
THU 4/13 - Metric - Metro
FRI 4/21 - Ladytron - Metro

Things are still a little light, but I'll try to post an update on Chicago shows once a month or so.

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1.27.2006

In the Jaws of a Liar 

By now I'm sure you're all familiar with the controversy surrounding James Frey and his runaway bestseller A Million Little Pieces. If not, see here.

Well, Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution had an interesting intuition for detecting Frey's bullshit:

I never believed James Frey because of the Economic Way of Thinking - I refer of course to Paul Heyne's book and not just the method. In one of the chapters of the EWT, Heyne covers basic public choice. Business people are always lobbying the government to regulate their rivals and when they do so they always have a public-interest story to sell. Heyne, however, cautions skepticism. One of his examples, is about veterinarians who lobbied the government to crack down on unlicensed canine tooth cleaners because, the veterinarians argued, unlicensed cleaners might subject the dogs to unnecessary pain. Heyne replies (I quote from memory) "Now, if you were cleaning a dog's teeth would you subject it to unnecessary pain?"

Frey's story about undergoing two root canals without drugs was obviously false. Not because such pain cannot be endured but because no dentist is going to risk his fingers in the mouth of someone who hasn't had an anesthetic.

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1.26.2006

Ten Classics 

I was surfing cyberspace today (by the way, "cyberspace"... whatever happened to that word?) when I came across this top ten list of classic rock releases. Not a bad list, but I thought I would throw down my own personal list. A few ground rules:

-- each group may only appear once
-- any release is fair game, not just proper studio albums
-- each album must feature frequent guitar solos. What's classic rock w/o them? This means no punk, no disco, no jazz, no frills.
-- must have been released b/w 1968 - 1979 (so forget about Pet Sounds, which is a Pop record anyway)
-- group must bare some resemblance to the band Boston, though not actually be Boston


Here we go with the countdown:

10. Rush - A Farewell to Kings - 1977
Not the birth of Prog-rock or even the best Prog album, but one that finds the perfect blend of technicality ("Xanadu") and mass appeal ("Closer to the Heart"). I credit this synergy to Geddy Lee's balls, which appear to be intact, resulting in a slightly less shrill vocal approach.

9. Electric Light Orchestra - Greatest Hits - 1979
I know what you're saying; "Greatest hits? What's up with that shit?" What's up is that ELO is primarily a singles band, and their singles happen to be some of the most infectious jams ever recorded. "Showdown," "Mr. Blue Sky," "Sweet Talkin' Woman,"... the... the hits don't stop!

8. Grateful Dead - American Beauty - 1970
This band helped push a renewed emphasis on the acoustic guitar in popular music, and Beauty is the unplugged benchmark of the 70s. CSN taught the Dead how to sing three part harmony for this record, and some of these cuts ("Attics of my Life") probably humbled even David Crosby.

7. Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys - 1979
Power-trio perfection. There isn't a disc that Hendrix released while he was alive that captures his talent the way Gypsys does. With the new backing from Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, Jimi finally had a band that could play in the pocket, which only opened up more room for soloing... lots of soloing... sweet delicious soloing.

6. Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. - 1972
A goulash of Stax-esque soul and dirgey blues, this album is one thing... drunk, woozy and fucking enlightening. It's like a lot of Stones records, but somehow it's actually good from front to back.

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My top 5 is coming up tomorrow, which includes TWO more live albums. I can't waste much more time on this, I'm supposed to be working right now.

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1.24.2006

Smoking a Dead Horse 

Radley has an interesting takeaway on the smoking ban hysteria. He notes that popular among the banning crowd is the Oliver Wendell Holmes quote:

"Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins."

To which the apt respondent should reply "given that patronizing smoking bars is strictly voluntary, the proper analogy would be for you to run full speed into my closed fist, then complain when you walk away with a bloody nose."

To which Radley rejoins:

Frankly, even that is probably giving them too much credit. Given the science on secondhand smoke, you'd have to run into my fist several dozen times per day for about 30 years before you'd even begin to see the first signs of a bloody nose. But of course, as soon as one person out of several thousand did get a bloody nose, you'd start agitating for laws calling for the arrest and imprisonment of people who stand around with close fists, lest some anti-smoking activist accidentally bump into one.

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1.23.2006

boom 


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1.17.2006

Radiohead show overturned by Chicago's D-orchestra 

Last week the Chicago Parks Commission overturned a request by Radiohead to play the outdoor venue of venues, the Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park. The Pritzker is known for it's state-of-the-art soundsystem with speakers that hang from tressels above throughout the venue. Aside from the killer sound, Pritzker just looks like a place Radiohead should play.


All for not as, get this, the orchestra has to practice the night of the proposed show. Practice!

In response, local radio station Q101 is organizing an event to moon the Bean this friday at 6:30pm. I feel it is my duty to show these highbrow clowns my buttocks and would like to extend the invite any other interested parties. Join me in a symobolic display of pasty whiteness!

Some Radiohead cover band is playing too! I'm sure they're awesome.

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1.16.2006

Souped up NFL 

Technology in the National Football League has been pretty stagnant since the inception of the yellow first down line. In the past networks have used the Super Bowl as a proving ground for new technical gadgets... some of them stuck around, others parished quickly (remember the year Fox had the robotic scoreboard that raised out of the endzone, complete with the "Chk-zeep-vvvr-eeek-zoook-kssshhhh" noise? That was awesomely bad.) Here is a quick run-down of some simple additions that would make the game that much more enjoyable.

Birdseye sideline cams - There were two situations this past weekend where the ball was fumbled just before the player got to the goal line. Both plays should have been ruled touhbacks, but there was no angle to prove this in replay. It would be extremely easy to string up a line parallel to the sideline with a camera pointed straight down. Plus that would give us a great angle for sideline catch replays.

Un-edited mic'd up players - Sure, we can see one player call another a "Scrawny-lookin' ass-doucher," but wouldn't it be nice to actually hear it? Of course, the FCC would never allow this sort of thing on broadcast television, but it could prove to be a very successful offering in the realm of pay-per-view. My only concern here is that the NFL would step in and ask players to clean up the language on the field, which pretty much nullifies the value of this service. When you think about how much controversy a small locker room quote can cause, the press would really have a field day if these floodgates opened up. Still, it would be pretty "fucking" sweet.

Sync'd up radio broadcasts - As a Colts fan, I love listening to Bob Lemy (though I'm happy I missed his call yesterday). There's nothing better than listening to your hometown play-by-play and colorman call a game. Once digital TV becomes the standard I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to tap in to the audio feed and have it sync'd up with the game on TV. Anyone who has ever tried to watch a game on TV and listen to the radio call at the same time knows that radio is a good 2-3 seconds ahead of the TV signal... making it essentially unlistenable. With digital TV around the corner this could make for another valuble and financially lucrative service add-on.

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1.14.2006

News from Gnarnia: The iPod and His Boy 

Ehhhhhhh ... how's it going, boys? Keeping busy in ye olde cubicle at work? Enjoy the big day off on Monday -- no work means you can get nice and drunk for the Colts game. I hope you all had stellar New Year's and managed to consume large quantities of drugs and alcohol. Frequent blog visitor Paul Mellilo came to town that night and proceeded to shred the deep pow for the next week with yours truly. Good times, good times. We got 7 feet in 10 days, boys -- totally steep and totally deep. The pic should give ya'll an idea of just how deep the gnar was. Jean the Bean has been here for the past week, too, which has been hella fun. We did some snowshoeing and saw lots of cute, fuzzy animals: elk, coyotes, moose, bison. She leaves tomorrow and Kristin Hanlon comes that night, so the motel we're running out of our crib keeps rolling. Remember, you all are welcome to visit any time.

I do have a little news. My brother Ian got engaged to his ladyfriend of a few years NYE and will be getting married the week after Tony and MC Pluck tie the knot in August. I also finally got an iPod and it is the total shiznit. Listening to crunchy tunes while shredding the gnar is awesome. I know most of you are Mac users and own iPods and I am no longer totally jealous. If you don't have one, you should, and keep that Apple stock rising because I'm a proud shareholder. The chart is from the past five days when I picked up my pod. How would you like to rip down that slope, maybe hit that gap in the middle with a backside rodeo 540? Sweet. Go Horse! Go Hoosiers!

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1.12.2006

Track some stuff 

Check out this cool trend tool over at IceRocket, which is great to tracking buzz in the blogosphere.

(sorry for the lo-qual image, click it for higher-res)

For instance, as you can see our undying love for underground rockers Nickelback, and the many posts we have devoted to their rightiousness, has finally started to pay off.
(via Coolfer)

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1.09.2006

Hoo-ya 

How good are the Hoosiers this year? So good that if a team keeps pace and loses to us they still move up two spots. Ohio State is up to 16 this week from 18, despite giving up a 17-point lead in the loss on Saturday. After a weekend of top 25 upsets and the HUGE win over the Buckeyes I expected to see Indiana creep up from 15 to 11, but even I underestimated how studly this squad is as they managed drop in at no. 8 this week.

Personally I think all the talk about the Big 10 going around over the last week is a little inflated. Illinois brings some solid defense, but do they really have a consistent second option on offense? All of the sudden Michigan State has lost two straight and with Indiana and Ohio State coming up this week they could easily be sitting at 0-4 in Big Ten play. The Big East seems like a solid pick for best conference but even their best teams couldn't win games this weekend.

As for the Hoosiers, pending wins over Michigan State and Illinois in the next week we could be sitting at number 5 or better two weeks from today. Word bitches. Word.

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1.06.2006

God Smote Sharon 

Our beloved Pat Robertson is back again. It seems he links the Israeli leader's stroke to 'dividing God's land'. Yes, because before Sharon allowed the Palestinians to have Gaza and part of the West Bank Israel was open to whoever wanted to live there. No Pat, I'm afraid the nation states that we have set up actually divide God's land. United States...divides God's land. I just 'pray' he is only senile.

"He seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of [his] agenda." (I couldn't have said it better myself)

Thanks Escotonete.

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