I'm reading Neitzche. Heilege scheiBe, I'm reading Neitzche! And I'm reading it in the mall. The mall! Among the herd, the people, who must learn to hear with their eyes. Well, I'm not a nihilist... and it's not only because I'm not understanding everything I read. But that tiny insane man really knew how to hold an audience... and a century, I guess. Fascinating. I'm enthralled.
Once upon a time, Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel (aka Triumph) wrote and created a TV pilot. That TV pilot starred Adam West as a washed-up actor who thinks he can solve crimes. It never made it past the pilot stage, but it's actually pretty funny. It's on YouTube:
(I found this out from the commentary on the Simpsons season 5 box set I just purchased.)
So is Conan's pretty funny interview with John McCain, but you people can search for that yourselves.
Which reminds me that Gogol Bordello are on Conan tomorrow. Don't miss them, they kick some major ass live (and I assume on TV that translates fairly well).
Also, I think I'm going to be blogging about the Astros for this baseball website. They already had a Tigers guy but they didn't have anyone to cover the 'Stros so I figured I'd apply for it for the hell of it. They gave it to me.
At least I'll be doing some sort of writing while I look for a real job.
EDIT: Don't read this post. Go to the nearest corner and read the print edition sports section of this week's Onion.
EDIT #2: Good examples which still can't capture the power of The Onion's "furniture text" items and sidebars.
And more recently, a 2006 decision in the case of Rodriguez v. The Fans of New York cemented the legal precedent established in the 1940 case of Williams v. The Fans of Boston, which made it clear that baseball fans are free to boo, no matter how nonsensical it may seem, players on their home team. Link
Alex Rodriguez entered a sports memorabilia store and flipped through a copy of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly ... "Upper Deck's got a high book of $40? Now that's just insulting. And Fleer — Fleer didn't even move at all? Goddamn Fleer." Link
I grabbed fresh copies of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal from the newsroom counter and walked toward my desk with the sense of urgency appropriate to an intern. No matter where I go, be it the bathroom on the next floor up (the best one), or across the room to a fellow intern's cube, I move like I mean it, even if I don't.
In this case, I was squirreling away the newspapers -- adding them to a stack which already included yesterday's NYT and WSJ, plus The Onion, Vita.mn, a folded-over Reason magazine, today's Star Tribune, and a nice snag from the communal book pile: "Sex, Lies, and Handwriting."
Silliman, Reddit, and BoingBoing -- in that order -- still loomed online.
But I couldn't read much until 10 p.m. because I spent my day interviewing a musical saw player, conducting an interview over Chipotle burritos, laughing over this nice newsroom gesture, and talking journalism with a 17-year-old who hopes to enter the field and who thus far has made a single documentary: 17 minutes about his two friends who decided to box one another.
I got to bike home at about 9 p.m., burdened by no traffic.
When I did start reading, a missing serial comma spurred a silent mental rant. From A1 of the Strib:
A gee-whiz state lab, investigators dubbed "Team Diarrhea" and a unique approach to sleuthing illness contributed to the breakthrough.
That aside, I found so much worth reading that I even held off on watching the revolutionary new three-ball juggling video from Wes Peden and Jay Gilligan. Which all leads to this short list of links:
Yes, the Rush episode of the Colbert Report was very entertaining. But I think last night's episode, featuring Nas, might have been one of the most wholly entertaining episodes I've seen in a while. The Starbucks bit at the beginning is good, as is Colbert's interview with Nas at the end, in which Nas details is beef with Fox News and especially his beef with Papa Bear. Colbert also suggests that the United States try and join the European Union. Good stuff all around.
Because they may be the best thing going these days, I asked Boo to join me in writing about Wolf Parade -- their new disc is out and we each saw the band on their current tour.
Boo: The opening band, The Listening Party, was very good to humble shades of great. Consisting of a (very talented) vocalist/plastic-garbage-can percussionist and a guitarist/backup vocalist, it took a while for me to get used to it, but in the end, I was converted. They seemed to be shooting for a style that married American roots-esque folk and country melodies with echo guitar lines, heavy, driving, complex percussion loops, and indie sensibilities. In terms of their songs and delivery, what some might have called repetition, others might call a reinforcement of a single, solid aesthetic and style, and whatever your point of view might be, they drove home that very musical point without straying too far into other stylistic territories. After the end of the half hour, I knew what they were about -- and I liked it.
Tony: I skipped the opening acts but grabbed a good spot on a railing in the balcony at First Avenue with Katie.
Boo: Then came Wolf Parade. This was their first show of the tour, and it was at least highly impressive and at most life-altering. Emerging from the side stage entrance and comprising the group were Arlen Thompson (drums), Hadji Bakara (synth, theremin, and noise effects), Dante DeCaro (guitar), Dan Boeckner (guitar and vocals), and Spencer Krug (Piano, synth, and vocals). They started the set with "Language City," a strong Boeckner tune from the recently released "At Mount Zoomer," which was soon followed by a driving, hypnotic performance of "Call it a Ritual" that reinforced the strength and command of the opening track and made clear the intention of the band that night: to fuck shit up in the best possible way.
Tony: Wolf Parade opened in similar fashion in Mpls, but I'll note here and throughout some of the differences between this most recent show and that which I saw two summers ago in Detroit. At that point, I wrote:
Wolf Parade bashed harder. They smashed chimes. They played their entire album and new songs, and finally only had one song left to play, and made its seven minutes into even more. I danced and jumbled with a drunken couple. The louts clobbered the crowd but I didn't mind, because they gave me an excuse to get rowdy right back. They poured beer on me and I danced and I stripped off my shirt in the parking lot before we ate Taco Bell on a raised lawn with ants invading my tossed-aside shoes.
This show wasn't quite like that, in part because of the new album material. I don't know what it means when an album has the ability to "grow on" you, but that's what "Mount Zoomer" did for me, especially in the run-up to the concert. I think there are more "movements" within each track on the new disc, which when played live, make for lots of anticipation.
Boo: The one aspect that I never fully realized when listening to Wolf Parade (yet became highly apparent live) were the fantastic drum parts of Arlen, and how his beat placement and basic, almost oddly dance-like, rhythms truly push the songs forward and provide a moving if not sprinting energy to Spencer and Dan's fantastic song arrangements. The propulsive drums and stable grooves are not as strongly emphasized in the recordings, but literally knock you back at the most intense moments of the songs, whether the remarkable build up of "California Dreamer," the classic "Grounds for Divorce," or the simply epic, urging explosion of "I'll Believe in Anything."
Tony: Agreed, but I always knew it. It did take about four songs for the sound mixing to bring the keys and synth up to a level to compete with the drums.
Boo: As to the performers themselves, it was to watch them play. Firstly, Dan Boeckner is rock and roll. His stage presence consists of cigarettes, tight jeans, and spasmatic, brilliant, euphoric releases of gritty, seasoned vocals and aggressive lashes at his guitar. Carly noticed what she called his "funny head thing" as well as I did -- how he manages to have his left leg and head move in an almost coordinated epileptic fit while the rest of his body seems relatively unaffected and oblivious to them. And his charisma and energy only built from there, since by the time they ended the main set with a remarkable 15-minute version of "Kissing the Beehive," Boeckner was on the floor in front of his amplifier, swinging the guitar against the speakers, stabbing at the pickups with his cable, twisting and bending the mechanical vibrato arm on the instrument half-hoping it to snap, and generally being as overwhelmingly dedicated to the creation of static, noise, and electronic screams as any human being has ever been. It was fucking sweet, Ira Kaplan style.
Tony: There's something about Minnesota crowds. Something shitty. Spence kept calling us "nice," which we were, which doesn't cut it. Boeckner never would have had the momentum to go to the ground like that. Same lame crowd as at the New Pornographers show I bet...
Boo: Now there is Spencer Krug, a completely different side of things. Carly giggled in surprise when I pointed him out -- in his early thirties he looks to be, at most, a boyish 21. He's also the most distracted, odd, and engaging performer I've ever witnessed. He would kind of half-sit at his keyboards and rock back on forth on his seat with one leg wrapped around ready to stand, sit properly, jump up, or literally just walk away prepared to wander around in his region of the stage for a portion of a song -- which he did. He would play relatively complex and highly brilliant keyboard parts, hammering heavy octaves on his electric piano, weaving fascinating threads of notes that managed to be shockingly clever as they are subtle in the mix, and delivering playful, inspired melody lines and accents on what looked to be an older, toy Yamaha synthesizer position atop his main piano. He managed to do all of this and then suddenly back off and look off stage for a few seconds, or maybe gander at the lights around him for a bit, or, looking bored, take a drink of a beer off to the side of the stage before practically leaping back into the music and almost in a split-second start playing even more inspired keyboard parts than you remembered him doing previously.
Just watching his performing makes you realize how subtle yet brilliant their song arrangements are, such as how "Grounds for Divorce" builds around the main keyboard theme introduced at the beginning, and how the vocal lines, guitar jabs, and additional keyboard parts all reinforce the repeated theme. There isn't a simple 3-chords-and-a-melody approach to songwriting happening with Wolf Parade, but rather a serious and thoughtful development of musical and lyrical themes and variations on them.
Tony: There's also something incomprehensible about the band's lyrics. Some sort of chanting-a-catch-phrase mantra that doesn't make much sense, but which nevertheless is exciting to sing along to (singing along to single phrases, here and there).
Boo: By the time they finished with an encore of "It's a Curse", "I'll Believe in Anything" and a ridiculously awesome "Fancy Claps" it was clear that even another 8 hours would have been the incredible combination of not enough and too much, just as the past 2 had been.
Tony: Perfectly said by Boo. The encore, perhaps identical, really left me wanting more and wondering if they shouldn't have built to that frenzy earlier.
Boo: Reluctantly we filed out along with the rest of the crowd, and, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 a.m., Carly and I ran into Spencer Krug and the two members of the listening party outside the venue. We had a brief conversation, discussing how the band hadn't played together for 10 months before brief rehearsals led to this first show of the tour, the new album, those little orange bracelets that band members have to wear, how Pontiac is a ghost town, etc. Spencer was polite and I was starstruck, and it managed not to be too awkward before Carly and I left to try and get some sleep, as hard as that would most likely be.
Once upon a time, Sportscenter was actually funny and insightful (it still is, sometimes, but most of the anchors these days are lame):
Yes, that actually happened. Rich Eisen was one of the better anchors on Sportscenter, and baseball actually tried wearing those things. UniWatch (my favorite ESPN column/ blog) has an entire column dedicated to them (he did an extensive blog entry as well. Quite possibly the worst designed things ever. I can't find the Tigers or White Sox versions of the uniforms online but if they look anything like this then we're in for a treat.
The Division of Labour Blog passed me to this episode of the Colbert Report, not sure why, but it nevertheless has an amazing interview with RUSH. Colbert asks if the band has ever written a song so long and epic that by the end of it they were already being influenced by the first part of it (which happened so early in their career by then).
In honor of tonight's game, I present to you the 2008 All-Star batting stances:
Yes, Batting Stance Guy probably needs more to do with his life. But then again, don't we all? He has almost every damn team on there, and he imitates them pretty well.
(I think I top that list of those who need more to do.)
Oh, and I think the NL might actually take it this year. No real reason, other than I just really like Lance Berkman these days. So let's saaaay....10-8 NL. Aramis Ramirez...no, Nate McClouth gets a go-ahead double in the 9th and then Wood closes it down in the bottom. Thoughts?
(Also, FOX is going to try and splurge all over Yankee Stadium tonight, so be ready for a sickening display.)
The Siren could not satisfy My appetites latest throb; I take another mistress, I claim the lamest job.
Starbucks does not employ full time, but I've found myself a way to fill the hours. I work in the mall. At a kiosk. A quilting kiosk. A kiosk that sells a service in which the customer receives a packet on how to organize their old tshirts in order that they may be made into horrible ugly quilts and pillows which are commonly used as presents for college students who would much rather curl up against a strange-looking inflatible hedgehog. This is my second job. I'm not ashamed. It's low sell. I work for two hours and maybe interact with no more than three customers. I get oggled by the ProActive gal. I read Hemingway. I get paid nine dollars an hour. I'm also going to be giving house-sitting a try later this month. (For any who missed the reference, Starbuck's logo is a siren. And by the way, check out the new "back to basics" cups. That's a more naked siren right there.)
Congradulations Jonathan and Naomi Dunn! In honor of this union, proof that Bruce Springsteen does make mistakes, but then again, sometimes I wish things like this happened at a mall kiosk: http://youtube.com/watch?v=wo1npZWR5qk
The following stat, taken from an LA Times book review, may be true, but I still think a lot of we young folks are equally ambivalent about American Idol and the U.S. House membership. When asked in a journalism lecture last year if we read celebrity gossip about Brittney and Paris, our answer was a resounding "no."
What does it all mean? Not sure, but I doubt celebs will sell newspapers. Here's the stat:
"You are six times more likely to know who the latest American Idol is than you are to know who the speaker of the U.S. House is..."
The album cover, admittedly, isn't that shocking. Tacky? Yes. Shocking for Of Montreal? Not really. But scrolling down, I also saw this.
Really? Are we going to stoop to this level now? It was one thing to become an (even more) androgynous Bowie/ Prince combination. It's yet another to add in a bit of the Village People to the mix. Should we be worried about the quality of this album based on the promo photo? Probably not. But when talking about the People, we also have to keep in mind that it very well could evolve to this. And no one wants that....do we?
This wouldn't fit in a Twitter update, so it goes here:
K: "It's your f-- ... (etc.)" T: "Hey, watch your language (etc.)" K: "What!? You've got the worst language of anyone I know." T: "I've also got some of the best language of anyone you know. Whaddaya think about that?" K: (eyes roll while sipping) (spurts water laughing)
I'm going to go see this movie today. I think it's somewhat appropriate that it opens on July 4th. The Houston Chronicle had a pretty good review of it on Wednesday. Lucky me, it's only playing in the theater up the street from my house.
In other news, I have a job (but not a Real Job...a coffee house job - Kyle will be proud) and I'm going back to school starting next week. Whoopie!
Also, to give you an idea of just what it's like here in Houston, consider this:
So for anyone who's been there to see me swoon over the design in The Virginian-Pilot, you'll recognize the name. Charles Apple, who has been with the Pilot's design team for many years now, has decided to change direction.
"My last day at work at the Pilot will be Friday, July 11. I’ll begin work in Charlotte on July 15. Sharon will pack up the cats, the dog, the guinea pigs, the turtles and other household vermin and follow as soon as she sells our condo in Virginia Beach."
In the past year he's actually mentioned me, Tony, or The Collegian in one capacity or another on several occasions.
Anyway, he's decided to begin working for an online, sports 'newspaper.' Which actually looks pretty interesting in its design. Sporting News Today offers readers a PDF for every edition that's released. But, different from other online media resources, its presentation looks similar to the printed page of a 'normal' newspaper.
"Sporting News Today an exciting new idea and I’m just tickled to be a part of it. And honored. I’ve been a fan of The Sporting News ever since I was introduced to it by my best pal in high school, Bailey Harris. Bailey’s now a big-time high school basketball coach in Lexington, S.C. I can’t wait to tell him I’m working for TSN. He’ll freak.
The New York Times did a big piece on the renaissance at The Sporting News a couple of weeks ago, focusing on this new venture."