Sep 30 2010

requiescat in pace

This is – I promise – the last time I will bring up the demise of Vox.  And I wouldn’t mention it at all except that I’ve been saving the image below to post on the day that Six Apart or Say Media or whoever finally pulled the plug.  I saw this a few weeks ago and appreciated the irony enough to save a screenshot.  It was the least I could do.  Literally.

[UPDATE: Another ironic screen appears while cancelling my account]

Aug 11 2010

heaven is a truck

Some might say finding pleasure in the untimely death of an Alaskan senator is unseemly.  They’re right, of course, and I don’t find pleasure in his death.  As people have done since time immemorial, I’m remembering him by revisiting his finest hour.  It’s not my fault his oratory always makes me laugh.

Jul 21 2010


I suppose it was too much to hope for that there would be a Youtube video of all the best lines from the manager in Major League.  (Which is to say: all the lines from the manager in Major League.)  So the video above will have to suffice.  It’s a real shame, though.  That line about the whitewalls always gets me.  Also a shame: Lou Brown died two days ago and I only now just heard about it.  Rest in peace, James Gammon.  You will be missed.

Mar 18 2010

a man called destruction

There are music fans who like cover songs because they believe those songs offer a glimpse through an artist’s carefully constructed public facade.  I am not one of those music fans.  I think cover songs are an integral part of that carefully constructed facade, and most often reinforce our preconceived notions about an artist.  That’s why I have no doubt that Alex Chilton was an untortured genius.

Alex Chilton was the driving artistic force behind one of the best and one of the worst records in my collection, and I don’t think that would have bothered him.  Alex Chilton was the opening act in one of the worst concerts I have ever seen, and I don’t think that would have bothered him.  He was literally booed off the stage, and it sure didn’t seem like that bothered him.  His last studio album was called Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy, and since no A&R guy on the planet would insist on that title I can only assume that it was his idea.

Alex Chilton wrote some of the finest pop songs that have ever been recorded.  In fact, he wrote the best pop song that has ever been recorded.  But everybody is sharing those songs today.  I prefer to remember him gleefully playing an insipid cover as a crowd of rowdy frat boys (and three confused Big Star fans) booed him off the stage of the Masonic Auditorium in Toledo, Ohio.  I don’t think this would bother him.

Alex Chilton – What’s Your Sign Girl

Mar 15 2010

captain clarence oveur

R.I.P. Peter Graves

Mar 8 2010

it’s a wonderful life

I once thought I might have found the girl I wanted to marry.  She had other ideas.  She was interested in seeing other people.  More to the point, she was actually only interested in seeing one other person.  And she started seeing that person while she and I were still together.  I’ll be honest, that kind of hurt a little.

I don’t really know why – in the wake of that break-up – I picked up a copy of Sparklehorse’s It’s a Wonderful Life.  I’d heard their previous album – Good Morning Spider – a few times previously and had a lukewarm impression.  I’m guessing there was nothing else to buy; my suspicion is that I had decided that day that I needed new music, and that I spent forty minutes or so aimlessly wandering around the record store looking for something that I didn’t actively not want.  At any rate, I’m glad – however it happened – that It’s a Wonderful Life found its way into my collection.  Its beautiful melancholy was my soundtrack for the next couple of months.

Mark Linkous – the auteur behind Sparklehorse – committed suicide on Saturday.  I wish I could thank him for his amazing record that guided me through one of the most difficult periods of my life.  But I wish even more that he had found something equally beautiful to remind him that just being alive is not always going to be as hard as it may seem.

Jan 29 2010

ain't nobody gonna see eye to eye

J.D. Salinger died today.  I can tell because it was all over my Facebook feed.  And I honestly have no idea why.  I guess it's supposed to be shocking.  Or sad.  Or significant.  But I'm struggling to understand any of those common reactions.  The guy was over ninety years old and he hadn't done shit in the last fifty of them.  Oh sure, he supposedly kept writing while living the life of a hermit, saying at one point "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy."  But that doesn't make him relevant.  It just makes him a pretentious douchebag.  Like everyone else in America, I read The Catcher in the Rye in ninth grade.  It didn't change my life.  I didn't even like it that much.  It was a school assignment, and I was a good student so I did it.  I have had literally no interest in re-reading it in the two decades since.

The title of this song by the Old 97's, however, comes from that novel.  It's a reference, if I am not mistaken, to Holden Caufield's sister.  Which ordinarily wouldn't matter, but that line in the coda – "I believe in love, but it don't believe in me" – is one of the best ever in any medium and had nothing at all to do with Salinger.  So I guess it's fair to say that he at least inspired something worthwhile.

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Sep 15 2009

nobody puts baby in a corner

Please don't tell anybody, but I don't hate Dirty Dancing.  Part of it is that pre-nose job Jennifer Grey was one of my earliest celebrity crushes, but I also love the soundtrack.  The opening credits were my first introduction to one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

I guess Patrick Swayze was okay too, but I preferred him in Red Dawn.  And in that hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch that Chris Farley owned.  But mostly Red Dawn.  He always did better with an ensemble cast.  And killing commies with a machine gun.

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Jun 25 2009

the king of pop

Most artists would be happy to have sung just one of the greatest pop songs ever.  Michael Jackson sang two.  This is the better one.  Barely.

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Sep 27 2008

for a moment there, i thought we were in trouble

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is my all-time favorite movie.  But The Sting is pretty good too.  And so are Cool Hand Luke, Slap Shot, and The Hudsucker Proxy.  Actually, I can’t think of a single movie that Paul Newman was in that I wouldn’t watch.  If there’s a higher compliment one could pay an actor, I don’t know what it is.