Friday, June 09, 2006


Essex Green
(Yes, posted before, but I like it.)

Rob Dickinson
(ex-Catherine Wheel. Click on "My Name is Love.")

Throwing Muses

Built to Spill

Joseph Arthur
(click on audio/video link. Start with "Can't Exist" and "Even Tho," though all are good.)


The Wrens
(Yes, posted before, but I like it.)

Radio Birdman
(live from '77)

Pere Ubu
(from '75)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We Are the Enemy, Issue 4334

I’m told by Senator James Inhofe (who would be the single most despicable American alive if the competition wasn’t so stiff it’s impossible to name just one) that I am “rejoicing” over the alleged massacre in Haditha (the accusation is buried in this audio report from Tuesday’s All Things Considered). Fellow contestants for single most despicable American Rush Limbaugh and William Kristol make the same slurs.

They got me: As soon as I heard that American soldiers may have killed brown Iraqis in cold premeditated bloodlust I broke into my Happy Dance:

Good effing times. Nothing makes me happier than when America’s reputation as a truncheon-wielding superbully that tortures and massacres when and where it chooses while simultaneously viewing itself as the holiest of beneficent empires is further reified in the minds of every person on the planet except those contending to be the single most despicable American (it is a crowded competition admittedly).

And dead American soldiers? Me and Earthgirl Blackdogress do our happy mating dance every time new casualties are reported in media. What? Four more marines dead from a roadside bomb?

And good news? We hate it. A particularly nasty brown person is killed in what has to be the biggest propaganda victory in three years of war in Iraq, killed most likely by information leaked from his own organization to get the bastard out of the chain of command (he was monomaniacal and megalomaniacal, confusing his own political fortunes with the fate of the country and doing so recklessly and incompetently and doctrinairely - imagine). But dammit, we hate good news and do our angry dance.

Oy. There are two – two only – options here: Fucktards like Limbaugh and Coulter and Malkin either believe we honestly celebrate every time another disaster or atrocity or embarrassment or illegality or immorality is committed in The Decider!s name – in which case we’d have no time to anything but celebrate, daily, hourly – or, or…. No, there is no other option.

I’m telling you, I’ve been telling you, I’ll keep on telling you, we’re next. We’re the enemy. As soon as the brown un-Christers are subdued, we’re next, us Liberal pseudo-American un-Christers. Unless we’re first. That brown un-Christer subjugation ain’t going so good, now is it? One symbolic dead brown person notwithstanding. Must be the Liberals’ fault. All that gleeful dancing.

* * * Oh, note to Senator Imhofe, who said Tuesday in the debate on bigotry and marriage:

"As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we'll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

If he believes that he’s as stupid as he is evil, and he’s galaxy-wide evil. Hey, Asswipe, do you think the your gay sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters would tell you, you pig-ignorant bigot?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Billy Preston

The NPR obit here. Preston here:


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tuesday Meads and Rusic

Two articles from the latest NYRB (another reason to hate the renamed New York Red Bulls, yes?)

The first is a review essay of Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as Natural Phenomenom, written by the estimable Freeman Dyson.

He (Dennett) observes that belief, which means accepting certain doctrines as true, is different from belief in belief, which means believing belief in the same doctrines to be desirable. He finds evidence that large numbers of people who identify themselves as religious believers do not in fact believe the doctrines of their religions but only believe in belief as a desirable goal. The phenomenon of "belief in belief" makes religion attractive to many people who would otherwise be hard to convert. To belong to a religion, you do not have to believe. You only have to want to believe, or perhaps you only have to pretend to believe.

Exactly. I would very much like to not have to think about this so much, but there is -and always has been, I suppose - a concerted strategy to Wal-Mart religion, to make it as easy as opening a bag of Oreos and, glorifying in the chocolate goodness, consider one's self select, happy as long as the prepackaged cookies keep coming. Marx called it an opiate of course, and as one who understands the inherent laziness - and surrender - of addiction I'm fully aware that belief in belief is a boatload more easy than independent wrestling with doubt and faith. A very good read.

Hey, have you heard the The Decider! is trying to amass all power in the executive branch at the expense of the legislative and the judiciary? I'm sure it's been yammered and hammered at all places me, but Elizabeth Drew gives it a worthy whack in the same NYRB issue, though strangely a rather oh-what-the fuck whack at that.

An article in yesterday's Salon on Mark Warner's and Russ Feingold's star turns in New Hampshire this past weekend. I'm a Feingold fan, natch, and while I don't think he can win the nomination (at least as of today) I think he absolutely needs to run so that our wing of the party is represented in the primaries and debates.

Music, then:

The Soft Boys


The Black Keys

(click on 10am Automatic video - close eyes, listen)

and Ralph Myerz

says dance.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Demonizers' Self-Demonizing

So The Decider!, who apparently doesn't give a flying fuck of any flavor about gay marriage, in a move so transparent that no one believes it's anything beyond an old queen's fart of a political stunt, endorses an amendment that would be the first in American history to deny civil rights if it had a chance to pass (which it doesn't). But, but, what about the great swell of moral outrage against gay marriage? Ahem.

Perhaps it's me and my anti-wishful wishful thinking, but at some point in demonization the demonizers become the demonized. I'm not sure it's the smartest political move to remind the 70% of Americans who wouldn't love The Decider! even if he came to their house and shat on the carpet that in desperate times The Decider! hurries to cravenly appeal to intolerent Christers and their theodicy of hate.

At some point proclaiming that two same gendered adults, in love, committed to each other, who ask only for basic civil rights, is the crucial moral issue facing America will be seen by all but the most intolerant as morally absurd. Proclaiming it for the shallowest and most transparent of political reasons - for the zillionth time - can only hasten that day.

And then there's flag desecration, the other great moral crisis of our time:

Never mind.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

First, what a beautiful night. It can't get better to see a game, warm enough for shortsleeves, breezy enough to not sweat. Twilight, this time a purple one, brought to attention by two circling helicopters for an army fly-over. (And planes out of National, flying directly over the stadium. Huh?) It simply cannot get any better, weather-wise, than last night, something I'll need to remind myself when I'm bitching about summer soccer and effing ESPN when I'm standing in the direct sunshine August 19 at 4pm v Colorado.

I declared the game important, and I think so even more now after last night's chippiness. To be up v Ningland by 14 points after 11 games in front of a long time on the road is wonderful. There is a huge difference between up by 14 to Ningland (who have a game in hand) than only up by 8. DCU is now up 10 points v anyone else in East and, with Dallas losing at home to Columbus (last seen being walloped a few nights ago here), DCU now up 3 in race for Supporters Shield. But much more than that: you have to beat your main rival at home. Done.

I don't know whether Jaime was on or offside on his goal. I couldn't tell when it happened and replays I've seen could go either way. Here's what's important: regardless of whether he was or wasn't offside, once the ball was at his feet, he abused Reis. (Ningland waahs and waahs about the offside - and how DCU gets all the calls at RFK - here. Pussies. Ba'al, I hate Ningland, more than any other team I hate Ningland.)

Both sides jammed the midfield and there were relatively few chances. Twellman demonstrated why he didn't land that morning with the USMNT in Hamburg when he botched a simple volley that was Ningland's best chance. Freddy whacked the crossbar. Lot's of chippiness, especially in first half when elbows were exchanged. The return match in two weeks in Ningland ought to be furious. Maybe then we can watch Esky's celebratory dance over the prone body of Matt Reis.

* * * * * * * * *

A really good article in today's NYT on USMNT in general and Arena in particular. Here're some quotes:

Arena prefers to be called a manager, however, not a coach. In that distinction lies his primary talent: building a team, in every sense of the word. He has a gift for breathing value into words that have become deflated with overuse in sports: honesty, chemistry, trust. Above all, he understands, in a way that no foreign coach could, just exactly what it means to be an American soccer player — his strengths and weaknesses, his needs and preferences, his constant battle with the realization that a player from the United States is always considered something lesser.
The American style, as Arena sees it, is defined by an ability to adapt, to shape strategies and formations according to various factors: the players available on a particular day, the opponent, the weather. Style depends on the qualities his players possess, not on predetermined notions about how they should play. In the 2002 World Cup, the Americans sat back and counterattacked in the wilting heat against Mexico, using three backs to cope with players' injuries and suspensions, and then charged hell-bent at Germany in the next game, certain that the Germans were not the better team.

People get too hung up on formations, which change constantly during a game, Arena says, before clarifying, "Our rule of thumb is, we're gonna play with a goalkeeper and try to play with a back four — and the next six, who knows?" The American team is built, and best understood, back to front. Goalkeeping is the most valuable American soccer commodity and export, in part because keepers here typically grow up playing sports that require the use of their hands. Given their lack of reliable goal scoring, the Americans also count on the back line to be impervious.

Soccer has become more generic, or homogenized, more reliant on fitness and speed, on applying greater pressure on the ball and providing less space for an opponent to operate; 40 percent of the goals scored in Champions League play in 2004-5 were counterattacks, according to the Union of European Football Associations. These changes dovetail with the qualities that elite Americans possess.
Excellent article, with points to keep in mind when watching this June.