November 28, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "The Champ"
Artist: Ghostface Killah

Only Ghostface can rhyme about David Koresh, Mick Jagger, Kangol hats and hysterectomies in the same song.

Song: "Hey Alex"
Artist: Bradley Turk

I genuinely like what Brad sings about and how he plays -- a la Daniel Johnston and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- and this is brand new to YouTube.

Song: "Crown on the Ground"
Artist: Sleigh Bells

What I want right now is to be at a concert and let loudness like this wash over me. I'd jump.

Song: "In My Time"
Artist: Kurt Vile

Pavement doesn't seem so lazy after all.

Song: "Fables"
Artist: The Dodos

Not too much to say about it, just like this song and the Dodos in general. That and the fact that vibraphones rock my goddamned socks off make this song full of goodness.

Song: "Piano Fire"
Artist: Sparklehorse

My friend Wes (of video?) passed this fantastic album on to me a couple weeks ago. I've been listening to it fairly constantly since then. I love every aspect of this song. That distorted acoustic guitar, the guitar wail, piano, driving drum-beat, Mark Linkous and PJ Harvey's killer vocals, even the obscure lyrics (well, okay, I love some of the images: "fiery pianos washed up on a foggy cost" and so forth," "I can't seem to see through solid marble eyes," etc.).


November 25, 2010

Real Simple Thanksgiving

Pulled mostly from Real Simple magazine, our Thanksgiving menu:

Sweet potatoes with pecans and parmesan
Brie and chive biscuits
Green beans with bacon vinaigrette
Homemade cranberry sauce
Black forest pie

Lauren is in town from NYC. We're up late, snacking on bananas and sipping coffee. Chase will soon be down here at 444 Wayne. And we might be submitting our pix-as-we-cook to the New York Times.

Addendum by Chase: We made it at least once.


November 23, 2010

East Boogie outtake

If you want to read about my excursion to East Saint Louis today, please read here and look at this website.

As an outtake/addendum that that little anecdote, while I was driving around that sad city, I had a certain Midnight Oil song stuck in my head, the product of going to the Saint Louis record store right before my aimless driving. Rather than explain it any further, just watch the video and imagine how strange it must have been to hear this song while driving around that urban wasteland.

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November 22, 2010

Three Years Old

Today, The Sad Bear turns three.

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November 19, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "This Is Hardcore"
Artist: Pulp

Pick your favorite line: "You can't be a spectator, oh no." "Then that goes in there/Then that goes in there/Then that goes in there/And then it's over." "This is the eye of the storm/It's what men in stained raincoats pay for."

Song: "Sea Cruise"
Artist: Frankie Ford

Without shame, Carnival played this often aboard their Fantasy ship. We sailed it to the Bahamas, Key West and back. Honorable mentions from the cruise ship discotheque come from Beyonce: "Single Ladies," which we all know, and "Get Me Bodied," which was new to me. Watching the gay karaoke emcee dance to both of these -- alongside the tall, foxy British vocalist from the cruise ship showband -- will not soon be forgotten. The latter clip isn't the best, but on another YouTube posting of it, one excellent comment reads: "This whole thing is just legs legs legs legs fierce damn legs."

Song: "Freak Out"
Artist: Tapes'N'Tapes

From their new album, Outside.

Song: "Second Language"
Artist: Disco Inferno

Song: "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
Artist: Bob Dylan

Now with a No-Doz reference.

Song: "Autumn In New York"
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Song: "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man"
Artist: Grinderman

Beast of an opening song. Love the way Nick Cave says, "Hey man I think it might be the cops."

I'm a little uncertain about the album as a whole. Cave's lyrics are generally a mix of gross, funny, absurd, gritty, awesome, and idiotic.

For example: "I was Mickey Mouse / he was the big bad wwwwooooooooooooollfff!" SHRED THAT GUITAR!

Jim is Jack's brother. He's a senior at Wayne State Univerity in Detroit and a proud resident of the D. (Like, the real, two-blocks-from-Tiger-Stadium-ruins-Detroit, not the suburbs.) He's an art major, which means he, like many of us, will have trouble finding a job after graduating, and also means he can be an art snob. But he also likes Red Wings hockey, Tigers baseball and going to a shit-ton of good, old-fashioned Detroit rock shows. He lends his expertise of the Detroit rock scene on this week's mix.

Song: "We Would Need a Place to Hide, Wouldn't We? Men Who'd Seen Miracles Did"
Artist: Prussia

This is a live performance of the song done for Single Barrel Detroit, a website that documents Detroit musicians performing at unusual sites around the city, to shed light on our unique music scene as well as our unique cityscape. In this particular video, Prussia is performing in the bathroom at Russell Industrial Center.

Two albums and one "mixtape" can be downloaded for free on Prussia's website. You can also hear a few tracks from their new album, which is due out sometime in early 2011.

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November 13, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "Fever Dreaming"
Artist: No Age

Even if they don't like the song (which, admittedly, goes on a tad long if you aren't into that sort of thing already), anyone who can't appreciate that white noise guitar squall in this song is no friend of mine. Sorry. If that's the case, you really need to reexamine your life priorities.

Song: "Homens"
Artist: Manu Chao

Heard this at juggling club the other night, reminding me of its presence in an old skate video I liked. Still do.

Song: "Animal - Peter Bjorn & John Remix"
Artist: Miike Snow

Song: "Bluebirds"
Artist: The Wilderness of Manitoba

Song: "Roll Over Beethoven"
Artist: Chuck Berry

Inspired by Conan.

Song: "Skit I Allt"
Artist: Dungen

Newest Dungen album and single. Means "Fuck it all" in Swedish and is wonderful.

Song: "Non, Je ne regrette rien"
Artist: Edith Piaf

Song: "Airports"
Artist: Mostly Bears

1. Best rock band in Tucson.
2. Sweet performance. You can usually sell me with multiple percussionists. No exception here. It doesn't hurt that extra guy is drumming a bucket while Geoffrey Hidalgo, the bassist, drums on the mix table. And of course Brian Lopez' awesome voice, with hints of Will Scheff, Spencer Krug, and Win Butler.
3. At Plush in Tucson, where Chase and I saw Sunset Rubdown. Plush, aside from just being a sweet venue, also does more for Tucson music than just about anyone else.
PS: Check out their video for Melancholyism too.

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November 12, 2010

Regarding Nick Tabor on Hillsdale's Marketing

I wrote this immediately after the responses to Nick's opinion piece were published in The Collegian. Some things were hashed out on Facebook after that, but I still agree with my opinion. Enjoy:

Nick Tabor's letter, as I read it, was principally about the image Hillsdale College projects when fundraising. He expressed disappointment that a college which delivers a fine liberal arts education cultivates an image associated so strongly with conservative punditry.

If this is not the case, the letter Nick received was an abrogation, and we alumni who wish to see our alma mater associated first with academic excellence have nothing to fear. Sadly, I fear that Nick has good handle on Hillsdale’s image.

As a Hillsdale alum now pursuing a graduate degree, I would prefer not to feel a need to urge, when meeting those for whom "Hillsdale College" means anything at all, that one really can get an excellent education there, that intellectual life there should not be assimilated to any know-nothing strain of the wacky right, that many different points of view can, at times, receive fair hearings in Hillsdale classes.

The objection is not even, as Mr. Hasted seems to suppose, that Hillsdale has some political involvement. Only the worst kind of partisanship would lead alumni to object strongly if the College were standardly associated, as it ought to be, with outstanding academics and a first-rate faculty which, on balance, leans hard to the right.

Mr. Hasted does manage to squeeze just enough confusion from Nick's piece to appear as though he addresses it squarely. Perhaps Nick, when objecting to "facilities over faculty," meant to suggest that the two interests are at odds, not merely that one is unduly placed over the other in fundraising letters. If Hasted is right, and this is what Nick meant to say, Nick should have said "facilities instead of faculty." On the other hand, we may opt not to assume that Nick writes sloppily, and read him as making the more insightful point, a point Mr. Hasted avoided in favor of his preferred exaggeration.

Insofar as Nick's piece was a complaint about a projected image of misplaced priorities, it did not function to insult the school, as Mrs. Fink claims it did. No one who thinks Hillsdale College fits its caricature would bother to urge the school to push its image in a different direction.

Moreover, when Nick wrote about Amherst and Williams, clearly he highlighted that mentioning their names, even to those generally unmindful of trends in higher education, evokes images of academic excellence first, and political punditry second if at all. He was not calling for Hillsdale to use either of them as a point by point model of what it should become.

There are other ways than this one might read Nick's piece. Perhaps he wasn't worried primarily about the aura around his degree, about how relatives respond to the name of his alma mater. Perhaps instead he wrote a cleverly disguised proposal to reshape Hillsdale budgets and curricula, as his detractors suggest. These readings have little to recommend themselves, and seem not to fit what he wrote, but those who must believe that Nick made no good points may have at them.

All told, neither of his detractors read Nick's piece carefully enough to hear the insight behind his concern. My thanks to Nick for not only voicing what many alumni think, but also for thinking carefully enough that his opinion should remain so distinguishable from these straw men.

November 6, 2010

"Tim Tebow poops"

I tried to think of a better way to introduce this, but really, there's no better way than to steal the intro to Chase's article share a few days ago. You'll see why in no time. But, really, "So find a comfortable spot and dive into this masterful piece of work."

Ready? Here goes.

The Tao of Poo.

Really. You must dive in. Just not too far.

In an act of superhuman subabdominal strength, Moss willed her sphincter closed for almost 10 miles -- 16,000 desperate strides. But then the sphincter made the decision for her. Moss didn't poop her pants; her exquisitely named pudendal nerve did. "The real miracle is that this doesn't happen more often with athletes," Dobson says. "A giant lineman in the NFL strains as hard as he does to hold back a 300-pound pass-rusher for an entire game, and 99.9 percent of the time his sphincter works properly and holds back all that pressure."

The NFL lineman story that follows is one of the funniest/grossest I have ever read in a sports story. And it is all the way at the end. You have to work up to it. Have fun!

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November 5, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "Misfit Love"
Artist: Queens of the Stone Age

For some reason, this song suddenly popped into my head the other day. Most know my abiding love for anything and everything that Josh Homme touches, but this one is a curveball. I've been listening to the Queens off and on for the past month or so, but hadn't spun Era Vulgaris in a while.

After hearing this one again, I'm not exactly sure why I let it lie in remission for so long. This song contains all the things that I love about Homme & Family, combining them into one convenient package: falsetto vocals (likely spurned by that ultra-low cock-punching bass groove), weird guitar wankery, armor-piercing drumming and a cathartic outro with lots of high harmonies.

Also, note Homme's rock moves in live clip: He's tweaking out like he just smoked week, drank beer and ate some pizza within a span of five minutes and can't control his bodily functions. Excellent.

Song: "1st Things 1st"
Artist: Phantom Planet

An unsung hero of sloppy rock albums. Finally found my burned CD copy, scratches and all.

Song: "My Sister Rose"
Artist: 10,000 Maniacs

My thought about this song is that nobody here is really going to dig it. However, this album In My Tribe was almost as important to me growing up as Paul Simon's Graceland. It's an album I re-discovered this year, and the more I listen to it, the more I appreciate its spot in my life. 10,000 Maniacs remind me a little bit of The Sundays, and maybe even The Smiths. My mom used to listen to this album while making dinner, and hearing the songs now remind me a little bit of growing up...before I found my own musical tastes wrapped up in bands like The Smashing Pumpkins.

I think this album is executed very well and the music incredibly listenable.

Song: "Watch the Glow"
Artist: Museum of Bellas Artes

Song: "The Time Warp"
Artist: Richard O'Brien (The Rocky Horror Show)

Song: "Future Primitive"
Artist: Papercuts

I just like this one a lot. The "da da da. . ." section where he harmonizes with the guitar while the organ rises is really beautiful, one of those oddly haunting and yet emotive moments that I really enjoy.

Song: "You're Just A Baby"
Artist: Belle & Sebastian

Song: "How Come That Blood"
Artist: Sam Amidon (aka samamidon)

Really gorgeous album. Intriguing song.

Dan is a good friend of Chase's from Louisville. They met through mutual friends during junior year of high school and shared, among other things, interests in music, tea, Dan's mother's shrimp and elitist jabs at one another. When Dan and Chase spoke last on the phone, Chase learned about the pet peeves of pharmacists and Dan listened to Chase speak about his trip to Boston (Chase was on a Megabus at the time).

Song: "All Delighted People (Classic Rock Version)"
Artist: Sufjan Stevens

I, like many people, discovered, became smitten with, overplayed, and developed Sufjan fatigue. It is after this indeterminate period of Sufjan abstinence that I found this gem of an EP. I hated it at first. It seemed bloated and self-congratulatory. I mean, the first track is 11+ minutes! On a second listen though, I was reminded of why I fell in love with Illinois in the first place. Each instrument contributes little more than a simple line, but layered altogether makes for an ambitious piece that feels more than the sum of its parts.

This track (as well as the original) reminds me of that nearly transcendental first listen-through of Illinois. Plus, I love Sufjan's penchant for banjo.

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November 4, 2010

Sparrow Songs

My Google Reader has been kind to me when it comes to churning up documentary-related projects.

Usually I find my Reader gets a bit unwieldy during the work week. Without the time to go through the lists one item at a time, I usually skim through and delete items en masse, leaving those that look especially interesting marked "Unread."

I've been waiting to check this out all week, and my wait was not in vain.

Sparrow Songs is made up of two guys who travel around the country and make one short documentary a month for an entire year. What they came up with reminds me about the aspects of "24 Hours at the Golden Apple" episode of This American Life I love most.

Check these out:


Episode: One
Episode: Two
Episode: Three
Episode: Four
Episode: Five
Episode: Six
Episode: Seven
Episode: Eight
Episode: Nine
Episode: Ten
Episode: Eleven
Episode: Twelve

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November 2, 2010

A word of caution

Here's the deal, you can only read this bitch once...after that, it will never be the same. So find a comfortable spot and dive into this masterful piece of work.

In fact, the best way to introduce this article is to quote directly from it:

"The fight for the dog is matched in intensity only by the fight for the money. The filings in this case have unveiled a scrumptious buffet of new information about Richard Scaife's riches -- where they've come from and where they've gone."


On another note, I wrote to David Segal (who, after perusing his New York Times trove of stories, has become a byline I plan to follow) and received a pleasant e-mail in return less than an hour later.

A snippet: "Thanks for writing me. I must say I did enjoy that Scaife piece. Oh lawdy lawdy was it fun."

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November 1, 2010


On the day I learned of the demise of my beloved Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon I found these photos on Craigslist.

Four years ago, when I bought the Crashwagon on a Spring Break visit to Chicagoland, I thought it was one of the most ridiculous and fitting purchases I could make. (I'd been considering an El Camino in Jonesville just prior to the wagon.) Seeing this green machine with the Delorean doors made me feel at peace. Roadmaster absurdity lives.

The Crashwagon is kaput, sold to a man who operates Mule Motor Machines (mulepower > horsepower, he says), and left to linger in surprising clarity in my memory.

My memory is suspect, because of, I suspect, the multi-tasking of college and newspaper work. My memory is not blatantly bad, just some sort of selective. I struggle to place life events in their proper year; my retention of novels lags.

But the Roadmaster is pretty clear.

I think one ride most symbolizes the joy it brought me, but in brief, some memories, and you should share some in the comments as well. I remember:

:: riding solo on the Midland Trail in West Virginia, late at night, listening to Circulatory System;
:: horrific windshield icing on a return ride from Grand Rapids;
:: transporting a boxspring and mattress from Karen's (and the dramatic car length measurement);
:: Hull's Drive-In with Katie, Rivy, and spilled popcorn;
:: gathering bugs in the grill between Hillsdale and Toleo;
:: riding our dodgeball team into the Hillsdale Sports Complex (not true, but we should have);
:: escaping Halloween mud in Kinderhook, Mich.;
:: donuts at Uncle Krunkle's;
:: doing donuts at Dollar General;
:: a blown tire nears Athens, Ga.;
:: a pre-marriage rescue by the Dunns in Elkhart;
:: riding with Patrick The Secret to the tri-state marker;
:: Transporting the Midnight Special, The Narrows, and the Ten and Six;
:: Crashwagon cameos in the one-shot juggling videos;
:: Da Roadmaster foo;
:: nearly running out of gas after the Toledo Art Museum;
:: running red lights at night in Detroit;
:: a new hood emblem;
:: a tail light bull skull with glowing eyes;
:: sparks shooting from the U-Haul chain;
:: spilled barbecue sauce I never cleaned (Katie, you win);
:: and clinging to life on a cliff's edge:

The Roadmaster has carried me to and through Chicago, Madison, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Pentwater, Hillsdale, Toledo, Ann Arbor, Arcadia, Cleveland, Detroit, and Windsor; Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Boston, Charleston, Charleston, Greensboro, Hickory, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Columbia, Nashville, and DC; Athens, Atlanta, Athens, Asheville, Lexington, and Lousiville.

But the ride I really think about was a dreary nighttime jaunt to Ann Arbor. We packed 'er to the gills -- 9 riding in 9 seats, I think -- to see the Dirtbombs (right?) It was rainy, Route 12 (beloved Route 12!) was wet, and east we went. That's why I bought that car, so we could all ride together -- to flea markets, to boat rides, to rock shows, and home.