Ruffin' It 

I just got an email from my Pops, who's headed out for some "camping" this weekend. He wanted give me an online tour of his new camping apparatus. It's part Denny's, part Red Roof Inn and 100% mountain man. Word is, he hasn't installed the satallite dish yet. The sad thing is, this mother proabably has more square footage than the coach house I live in right now.

It's sad to see the man go the way of the enclosed camper. In the early 70s it was a cot by the open fire. The late 70s marked the arrival of the man's first tent, which was eventually flanked with a kitchen tent in the early 80s. By the 90s Pops had upgraded to the 3-room, 8-man hotel tent. The year 2000 saw the introduction of the pop-up camper, which has now been superceded by the fully-enclosed trailor. He plans to start building a cabin this summer, but I think a RV is clearly the natural progression.



some records for yous 

With the way the Cubs are playing of late (4 wins in the last 20 games???), I've resorted to day dreaming about the accomplishments of others. Here are a few intersteting baseball-related records from the Guiness Book that I thought were pretty damn cool.

Longest Baseball Game
The Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers played a game lasting 8 hours and 6 minutes on May 9, 1984. The Chicago White Sox eventually won 7-6 in the 25th inning.

Most Innings In Minor League Baseball
A 1981 minor league contest lasted 33 innings. At the end of 32 innings, the score was 2-2, at which point the game was suspended. Play was resumed two months later, and in the 18th minute Pawtucket scored the winning run.

Longest Home Run
The longest measured home run in a major league game is 634 ft by Mickey Mantle on September 10, 1960.

Youngest Major League Baseball Player
The youngest major league baseball player of all time was the Cincinatti Reds' pitcher, Joseph Henry Nuxhall (b. July 30, 1928), who played one game in June 1944, aged 15 years and 314 days. He did not play again in the National League until 1952. Reds manager Bill McKechnie signed Nuxhall after receiving special permission from the young player's school principle. He retired in 1967 on the Eve of Opening Day and found a new career as a broadcaster for the Reds.



exit music 

Just wanted to drop a reco. for a couple tracks I just heard that might be worth checking out.

The first is a cover of Radiohead's "Just" by Mark Ronson feat. Alex Greenwald. A true departure form the original, it bleeds with pure Freddie Hubbard-ness. It's from a new tribute album called Exit Music: Songs for Radio Heads, which includes submissions from RJD2, The Bad Plus, and Meshell Ndegeocello. But the Ronson track is by far the strongest showing. Fortunately I'll be able to check out the definite article at Bonnaroo in a couple weeks.

The second is "Kick, Push" from hip-hop wunderkind Lupe Fiasco. You may know the name from Dave Chappelle's Block Party, or from his collaborations with name droppees Kanye West, Ghostface, and Mike Shinoda. This track reminds me of old Dialated Peoples and Tribe, which makes me optimistic about the future of the genre.


Miller time 

Click to enlarge. This is a great photo, which I believe is from the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Knicks when Reggie scored 8 in the final 8.9 seconds -- next to Duke / IU in the 2002 Sweet Sixteen, maybe the best game I've ever seen. The fans' faces say it all.

Those were the days, you know, when the NBA was still exciting.



the bowie effect 

That's what economist Alan Krueger of Princeton calls the dramatic rise in concert ticket prices. Find out why, here in an article examining what the BBC affectionately calls rockonomics.

Speaking of which, a friend of mine penned this article a while back called "The Man Whom the World Sold: Kurt Cobain, Rock's Progressive Aesthetic, and the Challenges of Authenticity." It links Nirvana's grunge statement with its glam rock predecessor (David Bowie specifically) and, as the title implies, the search for an authentic identity in rock. It may require subscription to the The Musical Quarterly (I don't know, my computer connectes automatically), but if you're at a school or library that has a broad scholarly e-subscription, I recommend checking it out. I was reminded of this article by all the rockism/anti-rockism discussion going on at Rob's site.

Here's some samples:

With this attempt to transform himself from a grunge guitar-basher into a sincere acoustic songwriter, Cobain revealed his deep-seated hunger to be included in the roster of great rock artists (that is, musicians, not mere celebrities). An appearance on "Unplugged" served this legitimizing function by placing Cobain's name on the list of respected recording artists who had already appeared on the popular program....[David] Fricke reported that "Unplugged was a chance to make music of nuance and cut his songwriting right to the ivory-white bone--a chance to be heard, not just
If Bowie's and Peter Gabriel's vocals represent the disembodiment of the voice in 1970s-style progressive rock, Cobain's almost heartbreakingly strained attempts at reaching a similar expressive level serve to remind us that punk and grunge were supremely rooted in the body.



The greatest spectacle in... rubbin's racin'! 

We need a head count for the upcoming 500. Who's going? Who's got actual tickets / or just infield? What's everyone got going on that weekend, pre-race?

Byron -- same infield party as last year? Same turn?

Alison have to move right after Memorial Day, but we're hoping to get our shit together enough to make it down by Saturday evening. I hope to see everybody on Saturday night or race day. Leave a comment and let us know what's happening.



"Mike found the nose urinary with a hint of Windex." 

A while back I came across the funniest review ever....EVER! This writer for a University of Oregon student independent decided to do a formal taste-testing of various bottom-shelf wines and wine products. Some of you might relate to his experience.

Below are some excerpts. I highly encourage reading the whole thing.

Carlo Rossi's "Vin Rosi" I drank on an empty gut, just like a wino....It had all the zest of a rhubarb pie sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool, with a mulchy aftertaste that faded fast.

Boone's Farm's "Sun Peak Peach" billed itself as an "Apple Wine Product;" thus it is to wine what Easy Cheese is to cheddar.
Triaminic and bacon grease...a diesel train crashing into a baby duck.

You get the idea.


things to do in Atlanta before you die 

Or, just a more dramatic way to say, "my 'to do' list before I take off this Summer."

1. Go to Six Flags Over Georgia.
It's no comparison to Six Flags Magic Mountain (California), but like its southern namesake, it's slightly behind the times but way ahead on charm.

2. Dance at the Clermont Lounge.
This place is properly pronounced like the more intuitive Clairmont, which is a major nearby road, but the spelling gives one a feel for the local urban dialect--it's how I suppose Ludacris or L'il Jon would say it. Located on perhaps the most happening central road in Atlanta, in the basement of a hotel that screams Holden Caulfield, the Clermont Lounge is something of a strip club (where old strippers go to die), something of a gentlemen's club for the declasse, and whatever remains is certainly a Russian mafia front. But the DJ on Saturdays is a local hero on the local clubster scene and one can watch "Blondie" crush beer cans between her FFF cup breasts.

3. Something about a giant fish tank.
Late last year, construction was completed on the largest aquarium in the world (take that Chicago and Monterey!). Funded largely by a $200M+ gift from native Atlantan and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, the aquarium houses some 100,000 animals of 500 species, including whale sharks and beluga whales.

4. Play at Eddie's Attic.
Best known to outsiders as the launching pad for artists like Shawn Mullin, John Mayer and the Indigo Girls, regulars know it as one of the last remaining vestiges of songwriters' workshopping left (think 1960s in The Village, or the 1980-90s in Santa Monica). Tucked away in a generally locals-only part of town, their open mic night is something to behold. A regular judging panel carefully critiques each act, awarding prizes such as studio time and opening slots to the winner, while other performers sit attentive, engaged and silent.

5. Get grossed out at "The Body."
I don't really know what to say, except to point you here. This isn't really a uniquely Atlanta going-on, as the exhibition is simply stopped here for a few months before moving on to New York (?). But it seems like a once-in-a-lifetime kinda thing if you're not particularly jetset.

6. Grub at The Flying Biscuit.
As one would expect, I could give an insurmountable list of great Atlanta-only dining options, many of which are affordable and all of which are fully satisfying. As an aside, Atlanta was second only to New York in number of 5 star (Mobil Travel Guide) restaurants, having had three at one point. In any case, The Flying Biscuit is the kind of place that gets swamped due to waves of local and national (Travel Channel and Food Network shows) press, but in in no way is that discouraging to the neighborhood crowds. As every city, or neighborhood for that matter, should have the marquee brunch spot, this is certainly it. And if you order only one item, being that it's both the best and you're in the South, it has to be the Creamy Dreamy White Cheddar Grits.



Elevator News 

So today my elevator told me that Yahoo! searches for Doug Flutie were highest in Boston, second in Buffalo and Rochester. I wondered to all end what I would do without this information and so felt compelled to share it.

Now for something completely different, from Slate, Tanorexia is the new cigarettes and soda. Basically talks about how the sun and/or something a little bit easier to regulate, tanning beds, are the new topic for banishment. Red meat is next. This article is from a guy name William Saletan, very fitting.


Stop, Drop, Shut'Em Down Open Up shop 

No surprise that there's a huge rush to cross the border in the wake of Señor President's speech on Tuesday eve. No time like the present. "Somebody stop them, they don't know English... err... very well," cries the collective Ameri-publican public. Seriously, at what point has someone attained a satisfactory grasp of the English language?

"I think 'em Mexicans oughtta learn English fore dey come to 'merica," commented one area man on the 11pm local newscast. Would he pass the test? Exactly how important is enunciation?

Alison could barely contain herself in light of the incessant incorrect use of personal pronouns throughout the President's speech. I know, he didn't write the speech, but the man does employ a staff whose sole purpose is writing and editing his speeches.

Also, wasn't this initiative supposed to be the piece of sweet corn in Dubya's steaming pile of shit? Amid the war, various scandals, low poll numbers, and a personal infatuation with Carebears the Prez drops this bomb? I think he did a decent job of alienating not only Hispanic voters, but minority voters in general. His business-first Republican base will (if the plan succeeds) lose access to all the cheap labor they have enjoyed in recent decades. Dems, who don't want to see this happen at all because they are "compassionate" (whatever that means), now have more fuel to toss on the burning Bush.

Who thought this was a good idea???



Sopranos Open Thread 

(Sorry Rob, I just can't wait anymore). Really I had to do it now, because one more day and I would forget the whole thing.

I want to talk about whether everyone thinks the outright anti bush comments are based upon the writers beliefs, how they think the mob feels, or based upon appealing to the masses (what is it, 68%)?

I've picked up on few hints throughout the past few shows (but can't remember) and would love if anyone can point out some others, but this week is a classic. Pauly has serious downfalls in his management of the Feast of St. Elzear, when Tony jokes, "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie." You can't get more blatant than that.

In my feeling, I think this is just Hollywood thought coming out more bluntly because the masses will allow it. And maybe has a little to do with the fact that Colbert showed you can actually talk shit directly in front of this Administration and not fear a gunshot to the head. But it could be that the writers feel the mob would say something like this.

So let's see, they have serious ties and allies with the unions (anti-conservative) and they don't pay REAL taxes, so higher spending by the government makes no difference to them. But, they're "old school" nature, the like for fighting and war, the major ties with Catholicism and hate of other races besides their own puts them in an extreme conservative position (as far as the neos that Bush has still so diehard behind him). I'm leaning more against this idea that the "boss" would use this anti-Bush quote. Anyone care to elaborate?

What about Phil and Tony cutting out Jonnie Sack or Christopher's ability to "set limits"?



Dive bomb! 

This is not my turtle -- but I wish he was!



Moussaoui Gets life 

Sorry for the 911 blowout sale on posts today. So Zacarias Moussaoui -- the Zac-attack if you will -- got sentenced yesterday to life in a federal, "pound me in the ass" prison. I commend the jury for not giving him the death penalty, one because I don't support the death penalty, but more because I don't want to see this man martyred.

The talk shows are ablaze over the comments he made after his sentencing: "America, you lost, I won." Guess what everyone??? He was going to say that either way!

Personally, I take comfort in the fact that he'll be locked away in a tiny little maximum security cell. We're talking the kind of cell that doesn't have windows; a cell this man will never leave. Even more, it's the kind of deprivation where they put your food in a seperate room then lock the door and buzz you in to get it like a damn rat. Zac-attack will be lucky if he ever sees another human being in his life.


Rethinking that Exploitive United 93 movie 

Ok ok, it's getting fantastic reviews. The public loves this film -- what it stands for, the message it sends, etc. That's all good, but...

This movie is going to rake it in at the box office. Universal is going to make a boatload of cash on this film. Think about it... there aren't a lot of special effects to pay for. None of the actors are brand names. The director is relatively unknown. All in all it is likely that the studio didn't have to put up much cash at all on this one.

You think the studio is looking at this picture as a public service duty? Sh'yeah right, they are in it for the money. Maybe this is exploitation afterall. Don't get me wrong, this is a film that America and the whole world should see. This is an important film and the director is serving the public's interest by creating it.

Still, does that mean we should have paid $18 for two matinee tickets? If this film was really meant to serve and inform the American public, the studio should be willing to consider one or all of the following:

(1) offer discount / reasonably-priced tickets
(2) free admission for low-income qualifiers (like many museums)
(3) donate the profits

I will concede -- the studio never came out and said they were making this film as a tribute or public service. Nevertheless it is being viewed and hailed as such. Universal is taking advantage of the American public.



A little mid-day Alba 

For the boys.


IT's what's for dinner 

Such beautiful food-tography. No, the Indian corn, delicious as it may be, will not be served.


White House Correspondent's Dinner 

Video Part 1-3

It will start with Part 1, the links to Parts 2 & 3 are below it.

You MUST watch this if you've not seen it yet!! The speech by Colbert is astounding and astonishing, but in a good way. A definite standing ovation for Colbert's mammoth balls.

I still don't believe this was real. It is basically a roast of the President by Colbert. Supposedly the White House has made it illegal for cameras to be at White House dinners from now on. I kinda felt some of it was a bit over the top being right in Bush's face and all, but then I thought...maybe he doesn't know.What did stick is the fact that he is pushing news sources to actually find and print truth.

Thank you Stephen Colbert has a great synopsis. If anyone can tell me how to download this video for my own please let me know.



Knock it off Photo boy 

Nicole over at Perfect Face for Radio has a post about a bouncer at Schuba's cracking down on cameras during a recent Wrens / Tapes'n'Tapes show. Technology has given us a whole new generation of "That guy"s. Time to wax-on my Daniel-sans.
"The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result."
That's right Mr. Concert Photo-Taker Guy. That photo that you have now taken upwards of 418 times from the same spot still is nothing but a brightly illuminated memior of the outfit worn by the person standing directly in front of you. Care for another?

No, your crappy digital camera will not turn you in to Ross Halfin. Unless you have some decent gear, a press pass, and plan on being in the front row, leave your damn camera at home.

I'm not professional photographer but if you MUST take photos in front of me at the show, please follow these general guidelines.

(1-a.) leave your camera at home
(1-b.) turn off your flash

Take photos without the flash on and you might just might have something decent at the end of the night. In order to get a good snap with a point-and-shoot you will need to anchor the camera against something to keep it steady. This something can be your buddy's head, the bar, or preferrably the stage or a monitor on the stage. A beer bottle can make for a handy tripod when necessary. Also, wait for the stage lights to help you out with some frontal lighting. Without light your picture will be black -- yup, it sure will.

Next up on "That Guy" - those people that call friends during the show and hold up their phone as though their friends are going to be able to identify that piercing noise as some kind of song.


Good Times 


If he gets stuck just drag him out. I'm getting absolutely no work done. This is way too much fun.


United 93 

So far this film has received glowing reviews, and any time this guy drops a 4/4 stars I'm finding my way to the theatre. Alison and I decided to head out and catch United 93 yesterday and put an abrupt end to the curiosity, i.e. what are we dealing with here? Another case of overblown and grossly exploitative nationalism? Political finger pointing? Passenger 57?

All of the above and none of the above. In my opinion the film's director, Paul Greengrass, does an excellent job of piecing together the facts and avoiding an agenda. Possibly the most senstive characters in the film, the hijackers, are portrayed as intense and diligent, though it's their piercing anxiety leading up to the takeover that really stuck with me. Greengrass should be praised for giving the audience room to create their own perceptions about the hijackers; for portraying them as living, breathing human beings and not just an embodiment of evil.

The true crux, and perhaps most politically significant piece of the film is the time we spend with in the military and air-traffic control hubs. Beyond the emotional weight of the passengers it's the feeling of disconnect among key governmental organizations that leaves deepest and most lasting impression. That said, it will be interesting to see what lies in the wake of this film. Will the emotional weight of the experience reinforce the ongoing War on Terror? Will the administration face additional finger-pointing for it's lack of preperation and execution?


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