Saturday, May 27, 2006

Any questions of what a year playing in England can do for a player's skills and confidence? Bobby Convey has got to start at left mid instead of DeMarcus Beasley (last seen grinning wildly while hanging on the back of Clint Dempsey as if he, Beasley, had something to do with Dempsey's diving header).

Ben started and played fine but did nothing, I suspect, that would move him in front of Mastroeni in Arena's eyes. Ching looked dangerous, but I'm not sold on Johnson (even though Johnson DID have something to do Dempsey's diving header) - he won't be able to run around Czech and Italian defenders as easily as Venezuelan defenders. Dempsey needs to be on the field. Jimmy Conrad needs to be off.

It was good to see USMNT press forward, though the defense is so s-l-o-w that counterattacks by good teams (e.g. Czech Republic and Italy) will be a constant threat. It'll be interesting tomorrow to see what line-up and tactics Arena chooses against Latvia, especially for the back line. A quality team would have scored against USMNT last night (and except for a brilliant save by Howard on a free kick would have). The win was fine, but it didn't exactly boost my confidence. I saw highlights of the Czechs playing the Saudis to a 2-2 tie yesterday in Austria - that front line scores against last night's USMNT defense.

Hobbesian Dweebs Spasm Arrhythmically

The Top 50 conservative rock songs as compiled by survey by the kewl kidz over at National Review.

First, can anyone tell me if Rush (the band, not the pantload) is really that iconic to conservatives? Their suckitude is so sucktatious that I could never get beyond how sucktacular the music was to ever get to listening to what I presume are equally sucktabulous lyrics. Jeebus they suck.

Second, put down your lunch before summoning an image of

Jonah Goldberg rocking his fat ass. Ick.

Most predictable song on the list: duh... Lyrnrd Skynryd? Sweet Home Alabama? Ding ding ding!

Say what: The Clash? The Clash? I knew conservatives were culturally deaf, but The Clash?

Finally: Proof! that conservatives have neither a sense of irony or a sense of shame: Living Colors' "Cult of Personality," which they consider:
"A hard—rocking critique of state power, whacking Mussolini, Stalin, and even JFK: "I exploit you, still you love me / I tell you one and one makes three / I'm the cult of personality."
You can't make this shit up.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I've been thinking a lot about and listening to a lot of the Go-Betweens since the death of Grant McLennan earlier this month. How do I put this? There is music for the way up, music for the brief moments at the top, and music for the way down. Perhaps I was unusual, but I always enjoyed the way down the most. I never understood why the gerund crashing; gliding maybe, coasting maybe, but not crashing. And my favorite gliding band of all time was the Go-Betweens.

Here's a video of Cattle and Cane, my favorite Go-Between song. As music video, it has that 1980's flatness that screams LAME! Please, start the music and shrink the screen. It's a great song, especially just after the peak, at the start of the long, lovely descent.

Asobi Seksu


NEW! Mission of Burma

Art Brut

(what's that, a new Fripp song just beneath? Yip!)

Camera Obscura

Click on media, click on videos - downloadable in Real Player
(and, again, shrink screen, listen, don't watch)

Donald Fagan? Donald Fagan.



Thursday, May 25, 2006

Holy Striking Yellow Pantsuit, Batman!

Clubby insider David Broder gets chubby at just the thought of Hillary running for President:
the buzz in the room was not about her speech -- or her striking appearance in a lemon-yellow pantsuit -- but about the lengthy analysis of the state of her marriage to Bill Clinton that was on the front page of that morning's New York Times.
Nothing screams Hotchimamma! like a lemon-yellow pantsuit. That Hillary is SMOKING! But wait, there's more:
The article, by Patrick Healy, was anything but unsympathetic. It touched only lightly on the former president's friendship with Canadian politician Belinda Stronach.
First: 2006's Mary Anne vs Ginger: Bill's Choice -


Bill, that old horndog.

Well, that debate is sure to dominate political discourse for the next three years. Broder admits as much, panting:

But for all the delicacy of the treatment, the very fact that the Times had sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clintons' marriage and placed the story on the top of Page One was a clear signal -- if any was needed -- that the drama of the Clintons' personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president.

The Dean of Washington Punditry, after showering, huskily gives his wisdom on what important issues will decide America's fate. That he does so without irony is the surest proof that's he's right.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The greatest, GREATEST, cover ever

The Futureheads cover Kate Bush's Hounds of Love

(they did an inhouse and interview on KEXP back in November 04,
and the DJ asked them, Uh, why the Kate Bush song,
and one of the band said something like, We were touring
with a bunch of bands, and there was this CD on the bus,
and people would be talking and shouting when the music
was playing until this Kate Bush song came on, and then
everyone would shut up and listen and rock to the song,
so we said to each other, we better cover this before someone else does.)


(and I'd been looking for it forever)

plus three other Futurehead songs.

(including the new single "Skip to the End")

Well, this can't be good. If Arena seriously expects and plans to get majority minutes from Reyna, he's nuts. If the US cannot reasonably expect to score except off crosses and set pieces, they'd better make better crosses and execute better set pieces. And converting Clint Dempsey to defense? And Donovan looks cooked.

While there's clearly no need for overreaction - let's see what happens Friday
v Venezuela - but this can't be good.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Something has changed. At the end of the week before last there was what Atrios called a humming, an ultrasonic, ultrasensory buzz that some tipping point was imminent. Me, I thought it had to do with Dick Cheney and pictures of his Godzillahead slumping onto his pacemakered heart appearing in previously criticism-free newsprint. And then... nothing.

It's facile to blame outrage fatigue. I've little doubt that after one after another case of administration ineptitude and catastrophic incompetence and deliberate deception and attack on the Constitution, what's another? As a designed strategy, it'd be brilliant: they'd weary us in our own stews of outrage, they'd paint us as lunatics rabidly foaming at every moving shadow. I refuse to believe this administration could do incompetency competently on purpose, but they certainly have the response to their critics' outrage down pat.

Look at today's papers: the NYT asks - or implies - the crucially important questions: Bill and Hillary: are they having sex? What's the real state of their marriage? Who's that woman Bill was seen eating dinner with? Meanwhile, the Post reports that the FBI, in a very unusual if not unprecedented fashion, raided Democratic congressman (who needs to fucking quit NOW, btw) William Jefferson's office. What's the connection?

I suspect the reappearance of Bill Clinton's dick is as much about an established media's pushback against us spittingly rabid Lefties: who the hell are we to drive the news cycles, we 36 year old jerkoffs sitting in our pajamas in our parents' basements. Who are we to determine what's important, who are we to declare an impending tipping point? They print, we read, get it?

The search warrant on a sitting congressman's office: this is scary. (Again, Jefferson's crime should be punished and he should quit, now.) This quite possibly violated the Constitution. It certainly signaled that the White House is NOT going to accept ANY legislative oversight into ANYTHING the White House has done, is doing, is planning to do. This is not a counter-attack: this Congress has abdicated all of its oversight responsibilities. This is preemptive. This is not about Jefferson per se: this is a warning to ALL congressmen and congresswomen.

Here's what's toggled. The media will be damned if they're going to let White House corruption drive the news just because some feverswampers think it should. Why, Al Gore may or may not have driven the five blocks from his hotel in Cannes to the theater showing his global warning movie, and the unsubstantiated chance that such hypocrisy might be but almost certainly isn't true is too vital to America's future to go unreported. The Left, for months - MONTHS - has almost successfully challenged the memes and themes so precious to the media. That's got to stop.

And here's what's toggled: you think this White House has been playing hardball all along? You haven't seen anything. You wonder whose phones are being tapped, whose civil liberties are being violated, what unlawful warrants are being prepared, what standards of presumption are being lowered to meet legal search and seizure "requirements"? You have been warned.

And then you're the NYT. Alberto Gonzalez testifies that leakers might be prosecuted as spies (especially those two NYT's reporters who leaked about domestic spying). What do you do? Yes, that's right: Bill Clinton's penis! That's news!

Mission accomplished. For the first time in ages. At last, temporarily, maybe. And that's what's toggled.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ondaymay Usicmay

Couple of interesting offerings from The Guardian. The first is a long essay by Paul Morley, a veteran musician/producer/publicist in the Manchester and Liverpool scenes in the late 1970s. The lists of bands he mentions is like finding a lost rolodex in my head:

Liverpool names were eccentric, told stories and showed off: Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Big In Japan, Wah! Heat, Lori and the Chameleons, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Dalek I Love You, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. The Manchester names were more discreet and oblique: Magazine, the Fall, Joy Division, Ludus, Durutti Column, the Passage, New Order and, ultimately, the Smiths. The music, while it shared the same influences, and was inspired by the same English punk personalities, sheared off in different directions. Only the Bunnymen and Joy Division retained any kind of remote atmospheric contact, feeding right into U2 .

God, did I love Teardrop Explodes. And Echo. And OMD (sometimes). And Magazine and The Fall and Joy Division and New Order (and a bunch of other bands mentioned). I never got The Smiths, though I've always felt I should. I never got Frankie, and I never felt I should.

Luckily, Morley is:

...putting together a compilation of music from the cities of Manchester and Liverpool between 1976 and 1984, called North By North West. It follows the music that was being made in the two cities because a group of people - an adventurous underground collective looking to establish their own identity - were suddenly shown by the Pistols, and the Clash, that they weren't the only ones having these thoughts, listening to that music, fancying themselves as the boisterous bastard children of Warhol, or Nico, or the New York Dolls, or Eno, or Fassbinder, or Marcel Duchamp.

Hopefully it will be released in America, and if not it could certainly be shipped to America.

Also, a bit of an interview with Eno, mostly about his recent collaboration with Paul Simon on Simon's latest, *Surprise.* (I've listened and listened and listened again and, having no expectations whatsoever, let me say they were met and not a word more). But here're two sentences that made my heart pingpang:

The most anticipated of this wave of collaborations - if not, perhaps by Eno - has been his return to the Roxy Music fold. For the band's album, scheduled for release in the autumn, he provided two songs, at the band's request, and ended up making a keyboard contribution to other tracks.

Of course I'll buy it the day it's released. And it won't have a 2006 equivalent to "Virginia Plain." And I'll feel old and sluttily gullible and crumpled kleenexed, but....

Oh well. Have a couple of songs:

If I could find the whole song and post it you know I would, but I can only find a 30 second sample of The Greatest Song in the BDR Universe, Teardrop Explode's "When I Dream." You'll know how to make it play.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What's missing? I realize I should consider the long view that sometimes a team can outshoot an opponent 18-3 and dominate possession for long stretches of the game and still lose, much less tie, and I should admonish myself for not grabbing comfort in the standard wisdom that a point on the road is a good thing and three points a bonus. I don't sense so much a lack of urgency as much as a lack of intensity, and they are different things. I can't imagine a Peter Nowak team ever playing without urgency; I sometimes wonder if Nowak's emphasis on aggression mistakes physical urgency for mental intensity. And paradoxically, I wonder if the absense of the man who symbolized DCU's physical urgency, departed Dema, is what's missing in the mental intensity: Dema took care of the physical urgency himself, allowing others to focus on soccer.

They are also shorthanded. Nowak had available on the bench last night Clyde Simms, Jeff Carroll, Devon McTavish, Domenic Mediate, Matt Nickell, Nick Rimando, John Wilson, with only Simms playing, replacing Lucio Filomeno (who started in MF, I suppose because Simms couldn't go 90). Jamil Walker, who might have made a difference in the last 20 minutes, was a scratch because of a hamstring injury. That Walker's absense seems significant cannot be a good thing. If they lose another starting midfielder (or starting striker or starting defender) for any substantial stretch of time, they could be deeply screwed.Next week in KC against a team embarrassed last night in Salt Lake and a team that thought it deserved better than what they got against DCU last week.