Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Humpday Housecleaning

I want to send a thanks and a link to the site Hickory Creek. They linked my post about icicles in Switzerland and I had a huge spike in traffic. Bloggers like that stuff. Check out the site, they seem to find a lot of cool, interesting stuff out and about. May be worth a return visit or two or six or fifteen.

Returned to the scene of the crime today, Burgers and Cupcakes in Chelsea. Dragged a co-worker who likewise raved about the awesomeness of the burger. I went for the bison burger with grilled mushrooms and stilton cheese. Simply fantastic. We split their Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow cupcake. Likewise, phenomenal.

A little bit of Bookpeeping on the subway last night:

Lifeguard by James Patterson and Anrew Gross

Et Apres by Guillaume Musso

The Rules of Engagement: A Novel
by Anita Brookner

Rudolph's Fundamentals of Pediatrics by Abraham M. Rudolph

The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil

In May, I posted about the amazing chalk drawings of Julian Beever here. Someone sent me some more amazing examples, so I thought I'd share the link to the old, and pics of the new.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Post from Friday

Just added a new post here. Just trying to be chronolgical, folks.

Monday, February 26, 2007

BillyBlogs the Oscars

Still unsure of what happened, but retrieved my sent file, here are the posts, chronologically:


This will run in reverse, but I will try and make some Blogservations of the Oscars. I'm qualified since the only films I've seen that are nominated are "Cars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean".

That means I should win the Oscars pool with the gang from Cali.

So far, the highlight has been Sally Kirkland's crazy dress.

Chris Connelly is my (Kevin) Bacon - 8:27 PM EST

As the interviewers fawn over the stars on the Red Carpet, I fondly recall the Summer of 1990 when I free-lanced for MTV and drove Chris Connelly around L.A. as he interviewed stars for MTV's "Big Picture - Summer Movie Preview." Nice to see his hair has grayed along with mine!

Opening Sequence - 8:37 PM EST

Ok, it's cute, but I miss the Troy Miller - directed sequences.

Ok, it's boring now. Sorry. Jaded.

Nice chilli pepper shirt.

Is this a GAP commercial?

Here comes Ellen.....

No, they're re-introducing the nominees.

Melanie liked the opening. She says I'm a cynical bastard.

Here's Ellen!

Ellen - 8:47 PM EST

Nice opening!

I especially like the "If it weren't for Blacks, Gays and Jews, there'd be no Oscars."

First Award - Art Direction - 8:49 PM EST

I picked Pan's Labyrinth and the winner is....

Pan's Labyrinth!

By the way, it's snowing in Brooklyn.

Will Ferrell - 8:58 PM EST

I have a wig just like his hair, only mine is rainbow-colored.

This whole comedian-musical is cute. Still not as great as Robin Williams performing "Blame Canada" several years back.

Makeup - 9:00 PM EST

Pan's Labyrinth wins. I'm two for two!

Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short - 9:06 PM EST

I chose "Lifted". The Academy chose.....
"The Danish Poet".

Oh well.

For live action, I chose West Bank Story...
The oscar goes to West Bank Story!
The whole family got it!

Sound Effects Choir - 9:15 PM EST

Totally awesome.

One of the coolest Oscar moments I've ever seen.

Sound Editing
- 9:17 PM EST

I picked Iwo Jima.

The Oscar goes to.....

Iwo Jima!

Sound Mixing - 9:21 PM EST

I have Flags of Our Fathers,

The Oscar goes to ....


Supporting Actor - 9:27 PM EST

And the Oscar goes to ....

Alan Arkin!

(Bah, I had Pluto Nash!)

Good for him, though. Nice to see a great actor recognized.

Cars' Song - 9:47 PM EST

Separated at birth - James Taylor and Robert Duvall.

And how golden is Randy Newman's touch? Will he be the first composer to win a lifetime Oscar?

Oh, here's Melissa Etheridge now... is this going to be a five-song medley?

Nice performance, nice messages. Of course there are probably more hybrid-car owners per capita in the Kodak Theater than at home, and most of the messages on the screen are not seen by the tv viewers.

Just 2 songs.

Nice pairing of Leo and Gore. Great gag with the music....

Animated Feature - 9:51 PM EST

Cameron Diaz' dress, in Melanie's words, is "like a bad bridesmaid's dress".

The Oscar goes to...

Happy Feet!

I chose Cars.

Writing Montage
- 9:55 PM EST

Very cool.

"You ain't no writer, Fink."

Screenplay - 9:59 PM EST

Nice play on the corny teleprompt text by Hanks.

Adapted screenplay first.

Consensus predicts "The Departed"

And so it is.

Costume Design
- 10:05 PM EST

What the hell is around Meryl Streep's neck?

I chose "Curse of the Golden Flower".

The Oscar goes to......

(Is this getting tedious yet?)

Marie Antoinette!

Cinematography - 10:16 PM EST

Gwyneth upgraded her wardrobe this year.

Not a big fan of the dress, but at least it isn't stomach-turning.

Sorry, didn't mean to be catty.

This should go to Pan's Labyrinth and ...

It does.

Visual Effects - 10:22 PM EST

Nice joke from Robert Downey. Haven't seen him since the Clinton administration.

Pirates wins.

Foreign Language Film
- 10:31 PM EST


The Lives of Others beats Pan's Labyrinth!

Best Supporting Actress - 10:36 PM EST

Anyone notice the lines "Well, do ya punk?!" keep appearing between all the nominees?

Go Jennifer Hudson!

And.... - 10:39 PM EST

Nice last minute shout-out to Jennifer Holliday by Ms. Hudson.

Short Subject Documentary and Feature - 10:50 PM EST

Oscar goes to The Blood of Yingzhou District (5 points for me!)

For Feature, we get a Seinfeld intro. Some jokes. Hmmmm.

Not so funny.

Do we get a speech from Al Gore?

You betcha!

Nice and sweet and to the point.

Celine Dion - 11:03 PM EST

World Premiere of "I Knew I Loved You".


Take away the necklace and she looks very similar to the Oscar statue behind her.

I can only think of her covering AC/DC in her Vegas concert, and I am too distracted to appreciate the song.

Last time I saw Celine she was doing some schtick on Deal or No Deal.

Good for Ennio Morricone. Sorry if I misspelled that. Check iTunes. Yo-Yo Ma does a nice tribute to his work.

You learn something new every day. Clint can translate Italian.

- 11:09 PM EST

Oscar goes to Babel.

Original Screenplay - 11:16 PM EST

Tobey Maguire and I go way back. Just google "Hot Rod Brown, Class Clown".

Shayna has been picking some dark horses tonight. She chose Babel while the rest of the house chose Little Miss Sunshine.

Sorry, Shayna.

Sunshine wins.

Silhouettes - 11:18 PM EST

Definitely cool.

Dreamgirls - 11:27 PM EST

It's 11:21 EST. Still a ways to go. Have you been enjoying this live blogging? I have a sinking feeling it has only been fun for me. Sorry.

Well, not really.

Best Song - 11:30 PM EST

The kids chose the song from "Cars". Go figure. Melissa Etheridge wins!

Editing - 11:44 PM EST

Oh does anyone care at this point. Sure, but I am almost 40 and want to go to bed.

Winner is:

Thelma Schoonmacher for "The Departed".

In Memoriam - 11:50 PM EST

Who will get the most applause?

I'm guessing Altman.

Well they ended with him and he did.

Best Actress - 11:57 PM EST

11:51 EST

I am now the only person awake in my house.

Apparently, Phillip Seynour Hoffman's hair stylist is also sleeping.

I am not a well-coiffed dude, but MY LORD! Did Nicholson give him a swirlie during the last commercial break?

No surprise, Helen Mirren wins.

Three Awards to Go - 12:12 PM EST

And it's tomorrow. Or today. It's late.

Reese Witherspoon should have worn a necklace.

Best Actor:

Sweet. Forrest Whitaker!

Great speech.

Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg presenting for director. Very funny.

Scorcese should win and bring down the house.

Let's see......

Yup. Standing "O".

Shot while Marty is speaking, we see Clint Eastwood's wife brushing something off of his lap. Wonder what that was about?

Best Picture (and the last post of the 79th Academy Awards) - 12:19 PM EST

Nicholson and Keaton presenting.

And the Oscar goes to:

The Departed!

Final Score from Brooklyn:

Me: 180 pts (out of 300 possible)
Melanie: 175
Jolee: 110
Shayna: 75

Good night!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Best Discovery of the Day, or Something to Look Forward to in May

After Dark by Haruki Murakami. To be published May 8, 2007. Buy here from

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Top 25 Albums #20

This post is about my favorite album from the band Queen, but it is not A Night at the Opera, which is considered by many to be their crowning achievement. Instead, I have selected A Day at the Races, the follow-up record that was released the following year, in 1976.

I can't tell you exactly when I heard this record, but it was very early in my music-appreciating career.

I do know that I had very little in my collection when I was given the cassette. If memory serves me right, the tape was a gift from John Lukehart, who was my "Big Brother," courtesy of Big Brothers of Hawai'i.

I became involved with the organization as I was being raised by a single mother in Honolulu, and I only had a consistent daily positive male role model over summers, when I stayed with my father on the Mainland. I don't know what prompted John to give me the tape, and I doubt he would remember. Perhaps I had been caught up in the whole "Bohemian Rhapsody" madness of the mid-seventies. The song hit #9 on the U.S. charts, so I must have heard it.

I do remember though, being entranced by the cover art of the cassette, and studying it thoroughly. As a frame of reference, I was nine when this album was released. It is definitely my first-owned rock album, so I rank it as an influential landmark in my early musical education.

Here's what I think is interesting about this choice, at least for me. There were only two bona fide "hits" on this record. Both singles, "Somebody to Love" and "Tie Your Mother Down", led off each side of the record.

The two songs are classics in and of themselves. I think I was more apt to go for "Tie Your Mother Down," than the love song, because I took it literally and as a nine-to-ten year old boy being raised by a mother, I remember thinking that it was pretty funny.

Of course, I didn't register the lyrics:

Your momma says you don't
And your daddy says you won't
And I'm boilin' up inside
Ain't no way I'm gonna lose out this time

Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
Lock your daddy out of doors
I don't need him nosing around
Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
Give me all your love tonight

That was track one, and I was hooked. That opening guitar riff from Brian May was imprinted on my psyche and when I think of Queen, "Tie Your Mother Down" is the first song that comes to mind.

Of the ten tracks on the album, two others drew me in. Both on side 2, "White Man" and "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" were standout tracks for me. That is, when I look at the track list, those two jump out at me as ones I remember liking as a kid. "White Man" was a hard-rocking song that bemoaned the fate of Native Americans at the hands of the settlers. "Good Old -Fashioned Lover Boy" is a rollicking song that I just thought was lots of fun.

Listen: "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" (mp3) via polaroid > un blog alla radio

The final track on the record is "Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)" and was released as a single in Japan, as a tribute to the band's Japanese following.

There is no disputing that Queen was an influential band for so many people. This album could have been replaced by any other record of the band's had I heard it first. It's safe to say that, as a band, Queen was/is in a league of their own. This record is not Queen's best, but it is my favorite, out of sheer sentimentality.


"Somebody to Love":

Performing "You Take My Breath Away," prior to the band recording the song:

"Tie Your Mother Down," the surviving members of Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert for AIDS Awareness, April 20, 1992, with Joe Elliott (Def Leppard's lead singer) and Slash on the guitar solo:

Queen performing "White Man" live in Houston, in 1977. The video quality is fair, but the audio is amazing:

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday from Four to Ten

Family post here. A break from the officiousness of music reviews and t-shirt hawking (keep the orders coming!)

Friday afternoon, we decided to take advantage of Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art. Even though I recently discovered that MoMA's admission prices for kids were quite reasonable (read: Under 16 = Free), the idea we could walk into the high-priced MoMA for free (Adults = $20, regularly, which is steep, by museum standards), was too sweet to pass up. And, as the week had gone by without any take-advantage-of-living-in-New-York-the-greatest-city-in-the-world moments, I really felt morally obligated to take advantage of the offer.

The plan was to hit MoMA for a couple hours, thenn let the girls bowl at Chelsea Piers, meeting up with Melanie after her adult gymnastics class for dessert.

The line was a bit long when they got to MoMA at 3:45, but it moved rather quickly.

Experiencing a museum with two strong-minded young ladies is quite the adventure. The kids really liked the architecture and design section. Jolee wanted this chair, designed by Charles Eames:

Shayna's favorite piece was created by Mona Hatoum:

It may not look like much, but:

This work is a large-scale re-creation of the kinetic sculpture Self-Erasing Drawing Hatoum made in 1979. Replacing conventional artists’ tools (pencil and paper, paint and canvas) with a motorized, toothed metal arm and a circular bed of sand, Hatoum mechanizes the practices of mark-making and erasure. At a rate of five rotations per minute, the sculpture's hypnotic and continual grooving and smoothing of sand evokes polarities of building and destroying, existence and disappearance, displacement and migration.

Overall, it was enjoyable, but when I got to the floor which had the most notable works of art, the sand had run out of their art-appreciation hourglasses. For example:

"Daddy, I want to get out of here. It's too crowded."

"That's because the most famous art is here. Everyone wants to see it."

"So, let's leave."

"Look: Van Gogh's Starry Night."


"So, it's Starry Night."

"So, I've seen it before."

"Not in person."

And so it went. Note to self: next time we do MoMA, we're starting on the top floor.

From MoMA, we rendez-vous'ed met up with Melanie and we headed over to Chelsea Piers. The plan was to head over to the bowling alley and let the kids bowl and spend mindless amounts of money on arcade games so they could each get $2 worth of crappy toys for $20 worth of games.

Alas, the Alley was packed, and said plans were thwarted by a corporate party's monopolization of the lanes.

Disappointed (well, at least 2/3rds of us), we headed back to the Field House, where Jolee watched Melanie tumble her heart out, and Shayna watched a couple of indoor soccer games. I plodded toward the end of The Show I'll Never Forget.

When all was said and done, we headed out to a late dinner.

We stopped at a new restaurant called Burgers & Cupcakes, on West 23rd between 7th and 8th Avenues.

We had to wait a bit for a booth, but the delay was well worth it. The menu is simple, affordable and the food was delicious.

I ordered the chiptole chicken burger with pepper jack cheese and grilled mushrooms. Melanie had the vension burger with goat cheese crumbled over salad. Jolee and Shayna had turkey burgers.

Unfortunately for us, the kids were not so fond of their burgers. They are accustomed, through a failure in parenting, to pre-processed turkey burgers, as are commonly served in Brooklyn diners.

However, the "fresh cut-twice fried potatoes" were spectacular and the chocolate raspberry truffle cupcake was a delightful flourish to end the meal. The kids had basic chocolate cupcakes.

Check out the menu here.

Website: Burgers & Cupcakes.

Let's Try This Again - Support BillyBlog's Capitalist Tendencies

I tried this a year ago, but no one bought. Let's try again. I need help paying for my Lucinda Williams tickets.

Buy this and/or similar products here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Music News: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Three interesting music tidbits floated my way today:

The Good:

from Billboard:

Zevon Saluted With Album, Reissues, Book

February 21, 2007, 2:00 PM ET

Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Late singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who died of cancer in 2003, will be the subject of a double-disc rarities collection, three expanded reissues of vintage albums and a book in the coming weeks.

First up are new editions of the albums "Excitable Boy," "Stand in the Fire" and "Envoy," due March 27 via Rhino. Each album sports four previously unreleased bonus tracks. The 1981 live album "Stand in the Fire" had been out of print for years, while "Envoy," released the following year, has never been made available on CD until now.

On May 1, the new label Ammal Records will release "Preludes -- Rare and Unreleased Recordings," culled from 126 pre-1976 tracks found in a road case after Zevon's death by his son. In addition to demos and alternate versions, the album sports six previously unreleased songs: "Empty Hearted Town," "Going All the Way," "Steady Rain," "Stop Rainin' Lord" "Studebaker" and "The Rosarita Beach Cafe."

The second disc blends 40 minutes of music with segments of an interview between Zevon and KGSR-Austin, Texas' Jody Denberg.

Finally, Zevon's life and times are chronicled in the book "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," which is told through interviews with family members and musicians such as Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham and David Crosby.

The article and track list here.

The Bad:


Guns N' Roses

According to Blabbermouth, Chinese Democracy’s previously half-confirmed release date, March 6th, has been retracted. Guns “associate” Del James has reportedly commented on the album’s status, saying: “The good news is that all of the recording for the album has been completed…There is no official release date, as the band is currently mixing, but after some delays and scheduling difficulties, things appear to be moving along.” Mmm k.

And The Ugly:
From MTV News:

Van Halen Reunion Tour Might Not Happen After All

Source close to band says 40-city jaunt with David Lee Roth has been postponed indefinitely.

Not so fast on breaking out those ice skates in hell. (Yes, those were our words we might soon be eating.)

The Van Halen reunion with original singer David Lee Roth — the one Eddie Van Halen described as feeling like "pure magic" after one rehearsal (see "Eddie Van Halen Says Reunion With David Lee Roth For Tour Is 'Pure Magic' ") — might not be happening after all.

A source close to the band, requesting anonymity, told USA Today on Tuesday (February 20) that the 40-city tour — tickets to which were expected to go on sale this weekend — has been postponed indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen's publicist — who announced the tour February 2 — said reports of a cancellation should be considered rumors until an official statement is released.

In mid-February, Roth spoke of the reunion with Rolling Stone, saying that he hopes it lasts beyond the summer trek. "God willin', and the creek don't run dry, just like Grandma Roth used to say," he told the magazine in typical Roth-speak. "Barring any act of God or Ferrari ... yeah. I have hope and faith, and that's more than just the name of a couple of strippers from Albuquerque."

Regardless, on March 12, Van Halen will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (see "R.E.M., Van Halen, Grandmaster Flash Make Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame") in a ceremony that could feature Van Halen performing with both Roth and his replacement, Sammy Hagar (see "Sammy Hagar's Plans: Beach, Cruise, Sharing Stage With David Lee Roth?").

So, I've made up for the paucity of posts earlier in the week. I also completed my post for Top 25 Albums, #20, but will hold off a day or two before posting it.

Fishbone: Still Stuck in Your Throat

I'm not in the habit of doing full-on reviews of albums, but I thought I'd give this a try. If anything, to give a reference and a glimmer of hope to Fishbone fans in the United States.

I'm guessing I'm not the only American to wander over the cyberpond and snag the new Fishbone album, Still Stuck in Your Throat from If you can't wait, go there to get it. If you're a cheapie, wait until April 24, and pre-order it here. In the end, the new CD's European incarnation, with a just-recently-specified release date in the U.S. of March 27, just-recently-pushed-back release date of April 24, is worth the extra pounds that it costs, considering we're getting it months ahead of an American market.

I will spare everyone the band history, which can be gleaned from their extensive wikipedia entry. I first remember hearing about Fishbone in the Spring of 1987, when they played the Greek Bowl at Occidental College. Or, should I say, the Remsen-Bird Hillside Theater.

I missed that show. I think I had a Shakespeare paper due that weekend. I still regret missing that performance.

I saw them again at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip in late 1990/early 1991.

The "official" Fishbone chronology site, doesn't list either show, but there are big gaps in the band's concert history there, in part due to their tireless touring and never quite hitting it "big". I know when the Roxy show was, approximately, because it was there that both the future Mrs. and I heard

"Everyday Sunshine" for the first time, touted as a song on their "soon-to-be-released" album, The Reality of My Surroundings.

It wasn't until July 8, 2000, when I saw them again, free in Central Park, at Summerstage. You can read the New York Times review here.

Jumping ahead, regular readers will know, I have since caught Fishbone twice, once at CBGB's and once at The Knitting Factory. It was at the CBGB show that Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe announced that the band had a new album coming out, called Still Stuck in Your Throat. The disc dropped in Europe in the Fall, and I snagged it through So, I've had a chance to listen to it, and will hereby review it. Bear with me, I'm a tad rusty at record reviews...

Let's start with a disclaimer. I am a die hard Fishbone fan, and will be as objective as possible.

Still Stuck in Your Throat, at least the European version, has 12 tracks and from the get-go, it is apparent to the casual observer that this is not a commercial band. In fact, whereas most successful bands can claim top chart positions, Fishbone has only had 4 charting studio records (out of 8 full-length releases). And even these have just skimmed the charts, 1988's Truth and Soul peaked at #153, their follow-up and most commercially-successful, The Reality of My Surroundings, released in 1991, broke the top 50, but didn't get past #49. Their next albums, Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe (1993) and Chim Chim's Badass Revenge (1996) peaked at #99 and #158, respectively. Their last three records, two of which were live discs, didn't make the charts.

Fishbone returns to form in this new CD, for sure. It is an irreverent, politically incorrect, socially-conscious, funkfest. A fusion of hip-hop, hard rock, and ska, the first sound you hear on Still Stuck in Your Throat is lead singer Angelo braying like a donkey. The song, "Jackass Brigade," is their take on life on the road. Angelo sings about getting out at a truck stop at three in the morning to use the facilities (only he's a little more crude) and the bus leaving without him. It's all silly song making, but the driving beat launches the record into a frenzy.

The second track would be sure to garner controversy if Fishbone was a bigger band, commercially. Entitled "Let Dem Ho's Fight," I heard this first at CBGB's in the Fall, and it is politically incorrect to the nth degree. Read the lyrics here, but beware, it's not for the faint of heart, or soul. It's a nasty, thrashing, skedaddling funkfest, and it works. Talk about a guilty pleasure, the song shreds, and has a catchy hook and chorus. It's about some form of female wrestling, and Fishbone faithful will like it, but the more sensitive of us may feel guilty singing along. Best simile in the song: "Got me sweating like a convict in a telephone booth".

Listen: "Let Dem Ho's Fight" (sample) (mp3)

The third track, "Skank N' Go Nutts," actually appeared in live format on 2001's unauthorized video Critical Times - Fishbone's Hen House Sessions and 2002's Live at the Temple Bar and More. We're finally getting this concert staple in its studio form. That's not too exciting, but it's still nice to hear a crisp clean version of it. The opening line "Idiotic behavior to the beat" sums up Fishbone's concert philosophy in five words.

Listen: "Skank N' Go Nutts" (sample) (mp3)

The fourth track, "Party with Saddam" actually enjoyed some airplay last month on L.A.'s KROQ, and it may help propel this record to some moderate success. When they played it at the Knitting Factory at the end of December, two days before Hussein's execution, the news had broken earlier that evening that the former dictator's days, nay, hours were numbered. The title of the song sounds morbid standing alone, but the song hearkens back to one of their best early songs "Party at Ground Zero."

"Party with Saddam" is essential Fishbone. It's all about letting music remind us that we are all on this planet together and should enjoy life:
Listen: "Party with Saddam" (sample) (mp3)

Ok, I realize, after a bit of a compositional break (I started this post in early January), that I've only addressed the first third of the album. There are still eight songs left. But fear not, as I realize that most reviews of CDs do not speak to every song. I'll try and take this down the home stretch here.

The fact is, the first quartet of songs sets the bar pretty high. After "Saddam," the tone shifts into a very mellow, melodic phase, with "We Just Lose Our Minds." Angelo's lyrics pour out of him like syrup dripping from a tree, as the rest of the band groove along, with a chunky bass line and a drowsy accompaniment from the horns. It's a nice "recovery" song after the party with Saddam.

Listen: "We Just Lose Our Minds" (sample) (mp3)

Then we're back to the hardcore skanking energy burst from "Frey'd Fuckin' Nerve Endingz". I appreciate what they're trying to do here, but this song doesn't really succeed. It bursts with energy, but it falls flat. It's just an unmemorable track that blasts about in the same range that makes it a generally uninteresting song. Next up is "The Devil Made Me Do It." Again, the song has all the Fishbone elements, but doesn't deliver the knockout punch that makes other songs on the record as catchy, or musically interesting. The next track, "Forever Moore," is another slow-paced (relatively speaking) song that showcases Angelo's vocals. Here, it succeeds a little bit Moore (sorry, couldn't help it) as a song. The melody is very nice, and features Angelo on the theremin, a fantastically cool music instrument that he relies on heavily in concert on certain tracks.

The theremin is an electronic musical instrument that operates using frequencies manipulated by the musician's hands in proximity to the antenna(e) on the device. Read more about it here.

The last third of the album launches with a terrific tune called "Behind Closed Doors," which I heard played in both gigs at the end of '06. It's abundantly clear when a band believes in a song, because they just tear it up in concert. This is a Fishbone track in the purest sense of the band's oeuvre-- it has a deep social message (homelessness), a blistering horns' intro that propels the song throughout the track, a driving ska/reggae beat, and a great vocal combo of Angelo Moore melodic background singing, and a reggae rap by keyboardist/vocalist John McKnight.

Listen: "Behind Closed Doors" (sample) (mp3)

Next is a song called "Premadawnutt," which is an interesting rock/reggae mix with the theremin. It's a bit of a mess, a chaotic track after the tightness of "Behind Closed Doors." The record ends with a potent one-two punch. It starts with "Faceplant Scorpion Backpinch," with a driving rock beat that is all about, believe it or not, snowboarding:
Backfoot flip, snowboard spine tweak
No pain without the powder, stuck four feet deep
More than a mighty wind carried on my head
Vertebraes cracking like dry french bread
Kind of an unusual subject for Fishbone, but according to a recent interview (read here for discussion of the album, the songs, why it's coming out almost six months later in the U.S. than in Europe, and snowboarding). A version of this appeared on one of Dr. Madd Vibe's solo projects, Medicine Cabinet.

The album ends with Fishbone's cover of the Sublime classic "Date Rape". Granted, it's not an original, but Fishbone has always had great success with covers (i.e. "Freddie's Dead" from Truth and Soul), and they do a phenomenal job here. The song has actually been around a while. It appeared on the 2005 Sublime tribute album Look at All the Love We Found.

It was also made into a video by Fishbone, their first in over ten years.

Before anyone thinks this is a pro-date rape song, check the original lyrics here.

Here's the original Sublime video, featuring Ron Jeremy, followed by the Fishbone interpretation.

Over all, this is a good, strong album. Fishbone faithful will not be disappointed. Whether or not this will win new fans remains to be seen. Based on the interview linked above, it is clear that Fishbone, despite being an American band, are most at home in Europe. This is a comeback album, of sorts, that succeeds, for the most part. Its strengths far outweigh its lulls, and I recommend it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia: Review by Guest Blogger, Jolee Cohen

I saw this film today with the offspring. Jolee, the eldest spawn of BillyBlog, offers the following review:

Bridge to Terabithia is now one of my favorite movies. Some of the scenes just remind you of your home. Casual fights over the remote, races to the bathroom, etc., but other scenes take you off to a far away planet, world and even universe, lifting your imagination to the next level. After and even during the film, it makes your mind take you off to some magnificent kingdom, where you imagine peacefully with no annoying brothers and sisters, yelling and screaming parents and howling cats, dogs and maybe even pigs. This movie tells you what actually imagination is and how you can use it. It tells us imagination is used every day, from morning ‘till night. I really recommend this movie for some adults and kids ages 6-12. I say that because adults might find it interesting as well would kids. No one like a teenager, who would think Terabithia, is too boring for him or her, or anyone too young who might take it as a frightening place. I know I liked the movie, and if you see it, I hope you like it too.

Thanks to Jolee for the guest post.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cool Stuff People E-mail Me: Icicles in Versoix, Switzerland

I thought last week it would be cool to take some pictures of icicles hanging off cars in Brooklyn.

Then I got an e-mail that humbled me.

Passing it on:

Thanks to Lee Bujold for the drop!