Saturday, March 31, 2007

Best Hard Rock Yom Kippur Song?

Why, Led Zeppelin's classic "When the Levy Breaks Fast".

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Links

As March goes out like a lamb, my weekend has started nicely...

For the first time this year, I rode my bike into work. It was a brisk 40 degrees. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge just before the sun cracked the horizon. Will post a photo later on.



A.O. Scott, in the New York Times, says Meet the Robinsons "is surely one of the worst theatrically released animated features issued under the Disney label in quite some time." Meaning, of course, it should open spectacularly. Come back Monday for weekend box office figures.


On the KROQ website:


Chris Cornell stopped by Thursday to talk about the past and future and perform songs from Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog and his upcoming solo album. Check back today to listen to the performance.
Someone on the Pearl Jam message board had a radio rip that I downloaded and listened to already. He performed "Like a Stone," "No Such Thing," "Black Hole Sun," "Seasons," and "Hunger Strike." Not bad, although "Hunger Strike" is so perfect in the studio, I have yet to hear a live performance that comes close to matching the original Vedder/Cornell one-two punch, even when they performed it together on october 28, 2003 in Santa Barbara.

The whole idea behind links is to share what I may come across during the course of the day. Someone sent me the following article, but I'll be coy about it:

Read why Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members at the University of Michigan said they will throw out two couches in the living room.

Saw this on the wire, Girl, 16, Kicked Off Plane for Coughing. I linked the Honolulu Star-Bulletin article when I saw that she was a Hawai'i teen, from Kalani High School.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Check This Out and Wonder Why Its Special



Scroll down for the answer...









I was astonished today to come across this poem, manifested in a YouTube clip set up by a user identified as Pacoevangelista from the Philippines. Astonished because, this is my poem, "I Am a Cigarette, Burning Between Your Lips," which was published in a Canadian online journal called paperplates in the late 1990s.

Would love to hear what people think.

29 Songs for the 29th Day

Five? Nah! Here's 29!

1. "Mother" by Danzig

Listen: "Mother" (mp3) via Brooklyn Ski Club


2. "Easy" by Faith No More

3. "The Metro" by Berlin

Listen: "The Metro," as covered by System of a Down (mp3) via Recidivism

4. "Maggie's Farm" by The Specials

5. "The Men Who Live in the White House" by Ornette Coleman

Read about Ornette on this blog here.

6. "Farewell to John Denver," on Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album ("And now the sound of John Denver being strangled....").

7. "Simple Kind of Life" by No Doubt.

8. "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart. Wow, 2 Maggies in close proximity.

9. "Goodbye," Eddie Vedder on uke, from the Brokedown Melody soundtrack.

Listen: "Goodbye" (mp3). Not the one I was listening to, but one from a few years back, thanks to Heather at I am Fuel, You Are Friends.

10. "Sunday Girl" by Blondie.

11. "Bright Mississippi" from Thelonious' Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia.

12. "Rock Rock (Til You Drop)" by Def Leppard (off of Pyromania)

13. "Match Box Blues" from In Session: Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

14. "Break on Through" by The Doors.

15. "Panic in Detroit" by David Bowie.

Listen: "Panic in Detroit" (mp3), courtesy of Best Foot Forward

16. "Drive In" by The Donnas, off their eponymous debut.

17. Otis Redding performing the Stones' "Satisfaction" at Monterey Pop in June 1967, less than a month before I was born, in the Summer of Love.


18. "Encore Break" by Pearl Jam. Sorry, guys. This is just applause, Eddie talking to the crowd, the chant "Ed-die, Ed-die,: etc. 3+ minutes of a break from the band's famous July 11, 2003, in Mansfield, Mass, when they played a marathon show of all the songs they had played on the leg of their tour. This is track #40 on the multi-disc set.

19. "Cold Irons Bound" by Bob Dylan from Time Out of Mind.

20. "Root Down" by the Beastie Boys.

21. "Special One" by Cheap Trick.

22. "Michelle" by The Beatles, off of Rubber Soul.

23. Weirdly, the next track is from This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary to The Beatles' Rubber Soul.

"Nowhere Man" by Low.

24. "Men's Room, L.A." by Kinky Friedman from Old Testaments & New Revelations.

25. "A Little Bit of What You Fancy" by Saxon.

Listen: A Little Bit of What You Fancy.mp3, courtesy of one of my fave blogs, Licorice Pizza.

26. "Hotel Arizona" by Wilco.

27. "Problem Child" by AC/DC from the soundtrack for Let There Be Rock.

28. One of the first hard rock songs I ever liked:

"And the Cradle Will Rock" from Van Halen's Women and Children First.

and finally.........

29. "Pyramid Song" by Radiohead, off of Amnesiac.

Listen: "Amnesiac" (mp3), courtesy of Instrumental Analysis

That was fun.

If you are an artist or blogger who doesn't want your song or link here, please e-mail me and I will remove it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Poem a Day for National Poetry Month




If you're interested in getting a poem e-mailed to you each day during National Poetry Month, click here and enter your e-mail address in the appropriate field.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Random Tuesday Link

from the New York Times:

“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” has now taken on a new meaning. Scientists studying marmosets have discovered that over half the males carry their brother’s sperm.
Read the whole article here.

Recently Borrowed from the Library

Queen - A Day at The Races


Black Crowes - Greatest Hits 1990-1999: Tribute Work in Progress


Fishbone - Give A Monkey A Brain And He'll Swear He's The Center Of The Universe



The Essential Cheap Trick

I HURL HOSTESS CUPCAKES JUST TO HEAR THE SPLAT!

I HURL HOSTESS CUPCAKES JUST TO HEAR THE SPLAT!

and to revel in the visual display, of course:
dark chocolate explosion decorating white walls,
the symbol of preservatives unhinged and smeared
with whatever force I choose to use,

the white eye at the center, broken like an egg yolk,
oozing its creamy pupil pus that ants dream of devouring-
BULLSEYE! my inner voice screams with childlike joy
as I dedicate my actions to the man in the news story,
the Hostess employee who had been
with the company so long, doing the same job,
day in, day out, making nineteen bucks an hour,
artfully dripping the white frosting curlicues
down the dark face of cupcake
before machines took away his livelihood

and I imagine how he would feel to hear
the swoosh of cake through air
and soft thud, say it, SPLAT!
of snack and drywall
mess, mess, mess
and his delicate squiggle
dangling like a tiny lash
on the lid of the eye.

There is often indescribable beauty
in acts of madness,
day in, day out,
painting curves on chocolate canvas
year in, year out,
the same pattern mocking,
begging to be hurled
at the nearest flat surface.
Preferably,
white.

©1998 William Dickenson Cohen

National Poetry Month Just Around the Corner - How About a Little Bukowski?


The good folks at HarperCollins sent me an email alerting me to yet another posthumous collection of poetry from Charles Bukowski, dead 13 years now, and still churning 'em out. Behold: The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems



This is, by my estimate, the 25th book published since Hank left us. And there's another volume coming in November.

Whet your appetite from this latest edition:

for they had things to say

the canaries were there, and the lemon tree
and the old woman with warts;
and I was there, a child
and I touched the piano keys
as they talked—
but not too loudly
for they had things to say,
the three of them;
and I watched them cover the canaries at night
with flour sacks:
"so they can sleep, my dear."

I played the piano quietly
one note at a time,
the canaries under their sacks,
and there were pepper trees,
pepper trees brushing the roof like rain
and hanging outside the windows
like green rain,
and they talked, the three of them
sitting in a warm night's semicircle,
and the keys were black and white
and responded to my fingers
like the locked-in magic
of a waiting, grown-up world;
and now they're gone, the three of them
and I am old:
pirate feet have trod
the clean-thatched floors
of my soul,
and the canaries sing no more.


For more Bukowski, visit this website.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Links

As National Poetry Month approaches, PBS' Online Newshour has a great feature on Israeli and Palestinian poetry here.



Pearl Jam fans who have enjoyed the cover of Victoria Williams' "Crazy Mary". May find the original version, as heard in this video, interesting. "Crazy Mary" opened the first Pearl Jam concert I attended on July 9, 2003. It's often interesting to hear a favorite cover in its earliest form, even if personal tastes lend themselves to favoring the newer version.

Here's Pearl Jam's version, in concert, on July 8, 2003, at Madison Square Garden. Look for the great solo at the end by "Boom" Gaspar on the Hammond B3 organ:



Happy Prince Kuhio Day!



An interesting article on high-end book dealer/collector Glenn Horowitz here.
(New York Times registration may be required)

Holy Sheep! Check out this trailer for Black Sheep, a New Zealand film:



If you think it's a joke, visit this site.

I discovered that The Complete New Yorker is on sale at the magazine's website for only $29.95 (compared to $63.00 at Amazon). I was fishing my credit card out of my wallet when I realized, I'm behind on my 2006 issues, why add another 80 volumes of pressure?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Heartless Bastards/Lucinda Williams, Live at Radio City Music Hall, March 23, 2007


What can I say? It was a great show. Lucinda Williams has a phenomenal voice and the venue was incredible. Acoustically, it was one of the most aurally stunning concerts I have ever had the pleasure to attend.

BlogPal Jill and I were sitting in the low rent district:


So, the performers looked like this:



But, hey, I knew when I bought the tickets that I wasn't going to be close. It was all about the music, and the cheap seats made me appreciate the sound in the venue that much better. Below you'll get a taste of the sound if you are brave enough to sit through some YouTube clips, where I butchered the photography (read: focused on the ceiling rather than the stage, duh), yet my camera was able to get some nice audio from the show. The fact that it is even audible is a testament to the greatness of the sound.

The opening act was the Heartless Bastards. They played a nice, compact, 10-song set. I liked them generally, and alluded in a live post that they reminded me of a kind of countryish bluesy White Stripes, but with a female singer. Much has been written about them recently, so I'll skip the details. They were a little rough, which was abundantly clear when Lucinda took the stage and the level of songmanship was so abundantly disparate. But then again, that's why they were an opening act.

Here's their set:

"The Will Song" from the album Stairs and Elevators (2005)

"Done Got Old" (Junior Kimbrough cover) from Stairs and Elevators

"New Resolution" from Stairs and Elevators

"Blue Day" from the album All This Time (2006)

"Came a Long Way" from All This Time

"Into the Open" from All This Time

"Valley of Debris" from All This Time

"Searchin' for the Ghost" from All This Time

(Penultimate song) - Couldn't identify this one. Lead singer Erika Wennerstrom did not introduce any of the songs, so I've had to research based on snippets of lyrics I typed into my blackberry. I got all but this one.

"Runnin" from Stairs and Elevators


Lucinda and her band took the stage at around 9:30 and played until 11:00 PM. The Radio City curfew was strictly enforced.

I'll get the negative out of the way first. The drunk woman sitting three rows behind us was an idiot. And probably still is. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that the band can't hear the stupid things you're yelling from ten rows up in the third mezzanine. This blubbering imbecile kept bellowing "See you Wednesday in Harrisburg!" and "Play from your heart!" Maybe her depth perception was off and she felt she was in the third row and just needed glasses. Ok, we get it lady, you're a fan, you're seeing her again Wednesday, it's not like you're yelling "Play Leash!" at a Pearl Jam concert.

That aside, I had sort of psyched myself up for a lot of her old hits, based on a review I read from a show she did earlier in the month in Orlando. Granted, that show ran an hour longer, and the reviewer remarked on how little of West, her new album, was played. We got the opposite treatment here. Take a look at the setlist:

"Rescue," from West (2007)
"Ventura," from World Without Tears (2003)
"Fruits of My Labor," from World Without Tears
"Drunken Angel," from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
"Lake Charles," from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
"Fancy Funeral," from West
"Pineola," from Sweet Old World (1992)
"Righteously," from World Without Tears
"Essence," from Essence (2001)
"Come On," from West
"Unsuffer Me," from West
"Joy," from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
----
"Everything Has Changed," from West
"West," from West
"Where Is My Love," from West
"Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" (Skip James cover)

Some of my notes from the show.




After finishing the opening song "Rescue," Lucinda stood staring at the house and remarked
"The sound is just stunning in here." The crowd roared its agreement.

Here's two and a half minutes of "Lake Charles". Just a reminder, don't click to watch, click to listen:



After "Pineola," she introduced the band:

Doug Pettibone, on guitar, harmonica and backing vocals, David Sutton on bass, and Don Heffington on drums.

"Essence" is one of my favorite songs, so I caught the last 2 and a half minutes for posterity. Again, you can't see much, but the music is clear:



After "Essence," she introduced Jenny Scheinman on violin. Ms. Scheinman provided strings on the new album, and remained on stage for the rest of the show. She added another dimension to the band. One of the reviews I read of West, one of the negative ones, faulted the effort for not taking advantage of Ms. Scheinman's talents on the record. The reviewer claimed that her strings were lost in the production. That's one opinion, but they were definitely not lost on the stage at Radio City.

During the first song on which she played, the amazing "Unsuffer Me," Jenny's violin and Pettibone's guitar just wailed and really rocked the house.




The main set ended with "Joy," and Lucinda had Erica from the Heartless Bastards come back out to play with her. The added guitar made the band sound fuller and bluesier. It was quite good.

During the brief break, there was some hollering for one of Lucinda's more popular songs "Changed the Locks". I guessed we would get that or perhaps "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" during the encore. Alas, that was not in the plans.

She threw us three more West songs. They were very good, but I was surprised at this point that the new album was so strongly represented. And the last song was not a big hit. I was going to be unhappy, but then she explained. They ended with a Skip James song, an old blues cover that I had never heard before. Lucinda explained that this was a tune she had performed in Brooklyn at St. Anne's church many years ago for the director Wim Wenders' chapter in the Martin Scorcese-produced PBS documentary on the Blues. The song appeared in the documentary, but not in its entirety, and did not make it to the soundtrack that was released on disc. That's a shame because, I'll tell you, "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" was the coup de grace, a slow-rolling rocker that was just phenomenal, punctuated by some band solos, and a throbbing humming that the audience joined in on. Here's 50 seconds of it:




So, there you have it. Great show. Not perfect, but still seminal. The venue made it more special. Check out Lucinda Williams, if you can, tour dates here.

Lucinda's website here.




New York Newsday's review of the show here.

The New York Sun's discussion of the show here.

Variety has a review, as well, here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Intermission

I don't see a lot of posting during the show. Heartless Bastards played ten
songs, for about 40 minutes. I'll try and post a set list tomorrow.

I enjoyed them. Jill bored quickly. They were a bit repetitive in a White
Stripes meet Sass Jordan sort of way. The lead singer/guitarist had a
strong voice and the drummer played nicely.

Just waiting for Lucinda.

Live Blogging at the Heartless Bastards/Lucinda Williams concert

Well here we are at Radio City up in the nasal hemmorhage section.
Heartless Bastards are taking the stage.

Dating Advice No One Gave Me: Leave the Death Metal off the Résumé

Blogfan Benjie will most likely appreciate this more than anyone, but here goes anyway.


The first and foremost thrash metal band Slayer changed my life. Actually, I have always classified Slayer as "black" metal, due to their Satanic approach to metal. They are also classified as "death metal".

Oh, I can see I'm going to be proud of this post!

Let me first begin by saying this was dredged from the recesses of my mind by a post over at the music blog Jefitoblog,


who will occasionally drop a dissertation called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to (insert band name here)". These posts are among my faves of his, which help secure his spot on my sidebar as a top music blog.

I often listen/download some of the sample tracks he hosts, songs I may have never heard, or realized existed, as was the case with his guide to ZZ Top.

This week, he surprised me, as well as many of his readers, with a lengthy analysis of the band Slayer. Before one scoffs, Slayer just won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance, and are considered as one of the cornerstones of American Heavy Metal. (See guitarist Kerry King discussing the Grammy win here).

Let us rewind to the early 1980s. I was a pimply little dork who started digging metal with the purchase of Mötley Crüe's Too Fast for Love, the Scorpions' Blackout, Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance.

Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax soon followed.

I hung out with my pal Chris at his dad's metal record store "The Cavern" which was behind a Jack in the Box kitty-corner to the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.

We were exposed to all sorts of metal there. I still remember being in the Cavern when someone handed me Megadeth's Killing is My Business ... And Business is Good! and said "This is the hottest shit since sliced bread." It was the first time I ever heard that expression, and I will always associate it with the sound of Dave Mustaine's guitar.

Chris, liked the harder, darker stuff. He loved Slayer and insisted that the speed of their guitar work was unparallelled. I tried to get into Slayer, and could tolerate them on a basic level, but once I tried to grasp their lyrics, I hit a wall. I was a slightly bigger fan of the band Venom,
Slayer's just-as-satanic but less serious (at least to me) and less successful counterparts.



When I left for California in June of 1984, I had my music with me, cassettes and LPs, and I had the address of a girl I had met at a school dance in May. And I think I had her picture too.

Her name was Alicia and she was the daughter of a judge in Hawaii. And she seemed to like me, which, at the age of 16, turning 17, was quite unusual for me.

We exchanged several letters, pictures, that sort of innocent early '80s stuff dorky guys like me thought were the standard things to do. I thought I had a girlfriend and I looked forward to coming home each day from my job scooping ice cream at Thrifty Drug Store, seeing if there was a letter for me, in those barbarian pre-e-mail dark ages.

And I listened to my metal. It undoubtedly drove my father and step-mother crazy. I taught my little sister (age 3) to sing the chorus to Great White's "On Your Knees". And then there was Slayer and Venom. I was conflicted. My letters to Alicia were therapeutic. I rambled about the intricacies of metal, and the difficulty I had reconciling liking the music with my distaste for the lyrics (see Slayer's "Necrophiliac" or listen, if you dare: (mp3) via Jefitoblog). I vented. I spewed angst. I was clueless.

And somewhere, mid-summer, Alicia's letters stopped coming. Memory fails me, and I don't remember any phone conversations. It seems incomprehensible that I wouldn't have had her phone number, and that we wouldn't have spoken occasionally from across the Pacific. I don't recall any of it, if we did.



August rolled around and there were distractions enough. I was in Rancho Palos Verdes, a suburb of L.A., and there were 16 days of excitement as the world converged on the City of Angels for the Summer Olympics. I'll just gloss over the embarrassing crush I had on Mary Lou Retton.



I remember an epiphany as I mulled over the silence drifting east from the Hawaiian Islands. Maybe I shouldn't have expounded on the intricacies of satanic bands like Slayer and Venom to a girl who most likely considered "heavy metal" to be bands like Ratt and Night Ranger.

The story ends abruptly. I returned to Hawai'i with minimal expectations. Yet, I still attempted to reestablish some form of contact with what had once been a very promising candidate for Girlfriend.

Alas, I was a young, clueless lad, with a poetic streak, a passion for metal, and a bad haircut. If Alicia and I spoke upon my return to the Aloha State, the conversation has been filed away in deep memory storage, like the ark of the covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.


I will defer to reader Benjie, who recalled for me a conversation he had with Alicia's mother many years later. Amazingly, despite the fact that Alicia and I had never gone out, really, I had made quite an impression. I believe the consensus was that I was too "intense" for her. An allusion was made to the music. Ben, feel free to add your spin to this sad, pathetic tale.

I can picture in my mind, a young girl of 16 or 17, in what was surely a very nice home, reading the letter in her bedroom. There would be stuffed animals on her bed. My missive makes her frown. She goes to an Episcopalian private school. My candid discussion of Slayer's song lyrics makes her uncomfortable. That night, she goes to her mother and reads her my letter. Maternal advice is dispensed. That is all. Yet the judge remembers me.

As I write this, I am listening to "Kill Again" from Slayer's Hell Awaits.


(Listen: "Kill Again" (mp3) via Jefitoblog)

I remember this track as one of my favorites. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman's guitars shred phenomenally. There was nothing like this in 1984. It makes early Metallica sound like Easy Listening.



In the music critic Chuck Klosterman's first book Fargo Rock City, he spends a little time discussing Slayer (check this blog post here for the passage I am remembering). He was point on, in my opinion. Despite the 6 Slayer tunes on the BilliPod, I am generally not a fan. A couple years back, I was told point-blank by Shannon, a friend of mine who was raised on metal in Boston, and has seen Slayer live, that it is indisputable that the song "Raining Blood" is one of the greatest metal songs ever. It's #8 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs. (Listen: "Raining Blood" (mp3) via Jefitoblog)

He is right, I have to agree. It is one of the fastest metal songs around and despite being gruesome, lyrically, to me the lines "Raining blood/from the lacerated sky"are visually amazing.

Listening to those six tracks, I am still impressed by the raw energy of the band's guitars. I recognize their complexity and underlying melodies. I just can't get past the lyrics, although I listen to them with a different perspective now than I had when I was 17.

And say what you will about band longevity, aside from the cliche of multiple drummers, the lead singer and two guitarists, the core of the band, are still together after 26 years of redefining the metal genre.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Links

A new blog I discovered, called Doctor Mooney's 115th Dream (or was referred to, by The Best Week Ever blog) has posted a slew of rarities from The Clash (here).

Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa had a fight 31 years ago. Now, details are emerging publicly about what the hullabaloo was about. Nice shiner, GGM!


Architect Frank Gehry is close to having completed his first Manhattan building. New York Times article here. Photo:


Fishbone has announced more tour dates.

There's a new Chris Cornell song streaming on his MySpace page. It's called "No Such Thing," from the upcoming release Carry On. He's playing Irving Plaza on Monday, April 16. Hmmmm.

I am excited to see Lucinda Williams tomorrow night at Radio City. Heartless Bastards are opening. Click their name (a cool one, indeed) to hear some of their songs streaming on MySpace. Or listen here: "Into the Open" courtesy of Adzuki Bean Stash.

Mini bookpeeping. I saw someone on the train reading this book today:



Go here for the Girlbomb website. Looks interesting.

I am working on an autobiographical musical post that deals with my failed relationship at the age of 17 with a young lady in Hawai'i who was the daughter of a judge. The main cause of the breakup: the Pacific Ocean and Satan. Betcha can't wait!

Special wet long hair dog


This is a sign in the window of a neighborhood green grocer/bodega. First they want to ban the dog, then the long hair dog, then the same dog, only wet. I guess such dogs are special.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy First Full Day of Spring!


Story:

Down the street, a few days ago, just shortly after our pre-St. Patty's snow storm, I noticed a spot about the size of a quarter peaking through the snow in someone's front yard. 'Twas a baseball. I walked by this morning, armed with camera and the ball was untouched, but a crater had formed around it in the relatively pure snow. I liked the image. The rest is history.

I also liked this image, though it was a lot nicer on Monday:

This is ice on mesh at a construction site on 32nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

A Rancid Mole, I

How about Daemonic Liar?

Those are just two anagrams for American Idol.

I got on this tangent last night while trying to come up with a horrible anagram for the horrible American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar, who forever butchered the Kinks' "You Really Got Me".

Alas, Yak Man Ajar, Sanjaya doesn't have much going in terms of anagram fun-ness.

I mean, he's no Gina Glocksen ("Cake Longings" or better yet "Conga-ing Elks"), Haley Scarnato ("Loathes Canary" or, hee hee, "Scrotal Hyaena"), Blake Lewis("We Like Labs" or "Weak Libels"), Jordin Sparks ("Dork Spins Jar"), Lakisha Jones ("His Nasal Joke"), Stephanie Edwards ("Washed Pedestrian" or "She Weirdest Panda"), or Phil Stacey ("Ethical Spy").

No coincidence that two of the best contestants have worthy anagrams in their names:

Chris Richardson ("Rains Rich Chords"), Melinda Doolittle ("Talented Idol Limo" or "Idol Moaned Little" but hopefully not "Old Eliminated Lot"),

Then again, there's Chris Sligh, whose name defies anagrammation.

Cruelly, I'll add Antonella Barba, who didn't make the cut to the final 12, but who was most popular among bloggers, newshounds, and detractors of the show. Posing for racy pictures makes more sense when your name, anagrammed, spells out "Notable Anal Bra". And her musical butchery makes sense too, which is why American voted to "Ban Atonal Blare".

Before you think I have too much time on my hands, this exercise was facillitated by the internet anagram server.

Signing off,

Bone Chill

Poetry in Motion: "Conversation" by Elizabeth Bishop

When, in February, I posted two poems that had recently shown up in New
York City's "Poetry in Motion" series, I saw a large number of hits on
BillyBlog and, more flatteringly, a great number of comments from readers
thanking me for reproducing them here.

I'll pause a moment to recover from one of BillyBlog's longest sentences in
recent memory.

So, this morning, I saw "Conversation," by the great Elizabeth Bishop. I'm
fairly certain this has been on the rails a while, but it gives me an
excuse to post another.

Conversation

The tumult in the heart
keeps asking questions.
And then it stops and undertakes to answer
in the same tone of voice.
No one could tell the difference.

Uninnocent, these conversations start,
and then engage the senses,
only half-meaning to.
And then there is no choice,
and then there is no sense;

until a name
and all its connotation are the same.




See the poster here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesday Links

A lot of other blogs do this, so I thought I'd give it a try. Over the course of a day, I may check out some random news items and/or other sites/articles of interest. Here's the index from Tuesday:


N.Y. Times article on the steadily-declining percentage of black players in Major League Baseball.

(Registration may be required)

A couple of poems from Gerry LaFemina.

(Poems from The Cortland Review, checking LaFemina out after Cyndee asks me if I've heard of him.)

Lookee here! The Pirates of the Caribbean 3 trailer:

Must Listen: Angélique Kidjo


Yesterday, old reliable I Am Fuel, You Are Friends posted her weekly "Monday Music Roundup," a summary of music tracks that are blogworthy in Ms. Browne's opinion.

Despite her Pearl Jam affinity, Heather's tastes run a little more indie than mine, so I look, register, but don't always listen.

Yesterday, she dropped the following, and I am lazilly ripping her entire blurb:


listen: Salala (featuring Peter Gabriel)
Angélique Kidjo
I have written before about the wonderful West African songstress Angélique Kidjo, and I always get into the Africa world-beat fusion of her music. She has a new album out May 1 called Djin Djin and it features a whole host of A-listers like Amadou & Miriam, Ziggy Marley, Joss Stone, Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys and this guy. Every time I hear Peter Gabriel's gruff, velvety voice I say to myself, "I forgot how much I love Peter Gabriel." The whole album is very good global listening.

So, I checked it out and I have to say I am in 100% agreement with this assessment. Every once in a while, I have a hankering for some good world music (and Heather's blog has a treasure trove of it). I particularly dig Brazillian songstress Cesária Évora, and have always been a fan of Peter Gabriel's world slant, especially on his Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ.

I will definitely be looking out for this new album in May when it is released.

Click the link above to hear the song and let me know what you think!

Cool Stuff People Send Me, Optical Illusions Edition

You may have seen some of these before, but they are still reeking of blogworthiness.




Try to count the number of black dots in the image below:



This one is the coolest. Read the instructions, then proceed. I get how it works, but am still amazed.

Stare at the four black dots in the center of the image for 30 - 60 seconds.
Then quickly close your eyes and look at something bright (like a lamp or a window
with sunlight coming through it). You should see a white circle with an image inside it:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Last week's BookPeeping

A bout of bookpeeping from last Thursday:

On the A train, from Penn Station toward Brooklyn:


Model Student: A Tale of Co-eds and Cover Girls by Robin Hazelwood.

Next, a chapter entitled "Two Losts Don't Make a Found" from



Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore.

This specific article (entitled "Something is Stirring") from The Economist, February 22, 2007.




Later on the R train to 95th Street, Brooklyn.



Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich.

Fishbone on May 3


Yes, it's that time again. Just following up from last weekend's post. Fishbone is playing May 3 and we are going to see them again. This time, the venue is floating:


Ok, so dig this:

Departing from 41st Street and The West Side Highway, the Temptress heads south along the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty. After circling Liberty Island for approximately 30 minutes, it heads up the East River, turning around underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It then repeats the trip in reverse, docking 3 hours after departure.
Now, some folks would pay $30 just for the cruise, no? But throw in Fishbone, and you've got a hell of a deal. I already have two sets of friends joining us, so it's going to be a party! Come join the fun, oh New York fans of BillyBlog! Get your tickets here.

Max Brenner

So I missed posting about Max Brenner in February when we went there for Shayna's birthday, so I'll jabber about our trip there on Saturday to celebrate Melanie's.

Before we continue, if you are unfamiliar with this fine establishment, check out their website here. New York has the only two locations of this international phenomenon that started in Israel.

Let's just say, it's all about the chocolate. But there's real food too. But, hey, it's about the chocolate.

Personally, I started with a hot chocolate, tin the traditional hug mug:



I opted for the "Mexican Spicy Hot Chocolate," with red chili, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. Sounds hot (two-fold) and it was delicioso!

Keeping with the theme, I dined on the "Chili-Rubbed Chicken Breast French Toast". With Sauteed onions, asparagus, chili sauce and melted Swiss cheese. Double delicious.

I'd bore you with what everyone else had, but there's be no point. Let's skip to dessert. Jolee and I shared the chocolate fondue:



There's dark choc in the foreground and milk choc in the background. And we toasted marshmallow, banana bread, strawberry and bananas right at the table.

Grandma Cyndee had the M.B.N.Y. (Max Brenner New York) Cheesecake. See below. It must have been good because we were told beforehand that we could all have a taste, but someone "forgot" to offer us a bite. Then again, can't say I blame her. (Mommels, if you're reading this...just kidding!)


Shayna had the "Popping Candies Chocolate Lick" (below). Gee, someone looks excited.

And Melanie had the Truffle made of 70% Cocoa.

Fun stuff indeed, and well worth the wait!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Final Gratuitious Soccer Dad Post until September

Ok, so the season ended yesterday for the indoor soccer league, as Shayna's team finished with a tough loss to the Red team. They may scrimmage next week prior to the trophy ceremony, but this wrapped it up yesterday. It was definitely the most exciting game of the year, as the Gold went up 2-0 early and shut out the Red for the first half. Shayna and buddy Max sat out quarter three and, coincidentally or not, their opponents scored three unanswered points to take the lead. Back in come Shayna and Max, and Gold ties it up on a monster boot from a kid at the halfback position, but the Red team had gained momentum and scored 2 quick, cheap shots in the final seconds to seal the deal.

Soccer Dad speaking, Shayna put the gold team on the board first. The clip is cut at the end so be prepared for the video to stop as the ball hits the net.



So, kvelling a bit here, Shayna really loved the indoor format of soccer. She was built more for a compact, smaller indoor field and, not that I was keeping track, but if she was not the top scorer, she was one of the top ones on the team. She is signed up for baseball in the Spring, so expect gratutious baseball dad posts in the months to come.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Catching Up

So, what's going on?

A lot to talk about in reference to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame
ceremonies earlier this week in New York, but I did manage to post about
that earlier this week. Scroll down for that update.

Tuesday I took a sick day, my first in almost two years, so my whole
balance of reality was off, I guess.

Speaking of work, the I.T. gurus flagged YouTube as a "problem site," and
it is unviewable from my work computer. Not that I spent time trolling
YouTube for blogfodder, but it locks up the system whenever a page embedded
with YouTube clips (read: BillyBlog) loads.

The NCAA basketball tournament started this week, inflicting a large number
of co-workers with March Madness. Growing up in Hawai'i, with my Tar Heel
father on the mainland, and matriculating at a Division III school, I have
found myself immune to the aforementioned mental disorder, and prefer a
different distraction: www.bandmadness.net

You may remember them from last year. This season they have a re-tooled
site and you can still vote whether you think ABBA is better than Tool,
etc. etc.

News came Thursday of a new blog in the sphere o' blogdom. Loyal reader
Leon aka Dear Old Dad aka The Ancient One, Blessed Be He, is now a Blogger
and can be visited via the link on the sidebar. Check him out, give him
feedback, and welcome him to the Nation of Blogspot.

So, that's that. We did get the news that we will be seeing Fishbone again,
on May 3, this time on a boat cruise in New York Harbor and the Hudson
River (more details to follow).

By this time next week, I will be in post-Radio City Lucinda Williams
bliss. And, I might even be hitting a poetry reading soon, with National
Poetry Month just around the corner.

Meanwhile, happy St. Patrick's Day. We are trying to dig out from the mess
from yesterday's precipitation dump of frozen mush.

Cheers.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blogged Arteries

Wow.

Just getting over the biggest blog clog since the inception of BillyBlog.
The last week has been blog-awful from an output perspective. And I am
trying to unclog the creative arteries here as we head into the weekend.

On the train home, with other commuters braving a skanky winter storm, a
consistent "wintry mix," as they like to call it. Rain, sleet, snow,
freezing rain. Fun stuff. Sending this post out from the Manhattan Bridge
while I ponder other matters.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ed Vedder sings with R.E.M.


I was about to hit the hay Monday night when I flipped over to VH1 Classic to see how the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Ceremonies were going. I was recording the show live, but wanted to see where they were in the evening.

Lo and behold, Eddie Vedder was at the podium introducing R.E.M.

Thus, I ended up watching what turned out to be the last 40 minutes of the show. R.E.M. played some tunes and in the middle of "Man on the Moon," Mr. Vedder joined in. Beautifully.

Listen: "Man on the Moon" (mp3) R.E.M. with Eddie Vedder, via Pearl Jam Online fan site in Italy.

This page has the story (in Italian), plus additional audio from the intro, Ed's speech, R.E.M.'s acceptance. and their performances of "Begin the Begin," "Gardening at Night," and "Man on the Moon." In addition, they have the show-closing "I Wanna Be Your Dog," as sung by Michael Stipe and Patti Smith, and the grand finale of "People Have the Power," with Patti Smith, Ed Vedder, R.E.M., Sammy Hagar, Keith Richards, Stephen Stills, and some others (including Ronnie Spector, who botched the lyrics as well as any American Idol contestant).


Granted, this post is very similar to that of Heather's over at I am Fuel, You are Friends. You should head over to her blog, however, because her March 13 post includes a whole R.E.M. concert available for your listening pleasure, a pretty spectacular show the band did just recently, in 2003.