December 31, 2010

For All the Haters

Okay, listen to this:


Now, go here for a discussion of American Idol and great female vocalists.

Do it.

Lots of cool YouTube video.

You won't be sorry.

And remember: Dionne Warwick rules them all.

December 23, 2010

Holly Jolly

Whilst contemplating Jon Kyl's definition of the profanation of the nativity . . .

It is finally time.  Here is your Christmas playlist, slightly modified from two years ago:

The Carpenters: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
The Grinch (OST): "Trim Up the Tree"
Harry Connick: "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
John Fahey: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Fantasy"
Johnny Mercer: "Winter Wonderland"
Andy Williams: "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Fats Waller: "Swingin' Them Jingle Bells"
Kitty Wells: "Away in a Manger"
Billie Holiday:  "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"
Dean Martin:  "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"
The Pogues:  "Fairytale of New York"
Mariah Carey:  "All I Want for Christmas is You"
Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grapelli:  "Christmas Swing"
The Cats & the Fiddle:  "Hep Cat's Holiday"
Sons of Heaven:  "When Jesus was Born"
Mahalia Jackson:  "Bless This House"
Oscar Peterson:  "A Child is Born"
Ben Kaili:  "Little Drummer Boy"
Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic:  "Carol of the Bells"
Dwight Yoakam:  "Santa Claus is Back in Town"
Frank Sinatra:  "Jingle Bells"
Jimmy Durante:  "Frosty the Snowman"
Elvis Presley:  "Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me)"
Bill Evans:  "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
The Jackson 5:  "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
Rahsaan Roland Kirk:  "We Free Kings"
Jimmy Smith:  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
The Brian Setzer Orchestra:  "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
Louie Armstrong:  "Cool Yule"
Louis Prima:  "What Will Santa Say (When He Finds Everybody Swingin")"
Straight No Chaser:  "Hark the Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard on High"
Willie Nelson:  "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Sister Rosetta Tharp:  "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Moya Brennan:  "What Child is This?"
Blue Eyed Grass:  "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel"
Country Gentlemen:  "Silent Night"
Dinah Washington:  "Ole Santa"
The Flaming Lips:  "A Change at Christmas (Say is isn't So)"
Billy Eckstine:  "Christmas Eve"
Roy Orbison:  "Pretty Paper"
Billy May:  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
Peggy Lee:  "The Christmas Song"
Mel Torme:  "The Christmas Song"
The Pretenders:  "2000 Miles"
The Choir of Westminster Abbey:  "Good King Wenceslas"
Merle Haggard:  "Silver Bells"
Bobby Helms:  "Jingle Bell Rock"
Chuck Berry:  "Run Rudolph Run"
Eartha Kitt:  "Santa Baby"
Burl Ives:  "A Holly Jolly Christmas"
Bing Crosby:  "White Christmas"
Leo Kottke:  "Accordion Bells"
Ella Fitgerald:  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Go ahead, suspend disbelief, rock the playlist.  'tis the season, after all.

And remember, Chairman Mao says:  SHUT THE FUCK UP!

December 19, 2010

The 50th Revolution

Well friends, I don't mind telling you that this year has been a load of shit.  I'm annoyed, annoyed, annoyed . . . and I don't want to get into it, at least not yet.

Now before you send me your well-meaning sympathies or concerned missives inquiring about my wellbeing, please bear in mind that 1) I believe my mood is pretty much completely under my own control, so if I walk around in a constant state of annoyance, it's my own damn fault; and 2) I don't think it's necessary, or even desirable, to drift along in a constant fog of "happiness".  "If you're not getting pissed off, you're not paying attention", as they say.

In other words, I'm fine.  Thanks for asking.

Over the last couple years our little family has had to deal with things.  Fortunately, we are able to deal with these things together, and we're growing closer by the day.  The future is always brighter; but that doesn't make the present less annoying.

Things are gestating, and the process has me a bit on edge.  The future is unclear to me, but I have more confidence in my ability to strangle it with my bare hands than I ever have had before.  And this little fit of annoyance?  It seems like the gateway to something, though I swear I don't know what.

Well, there you have it.  I'm not going to get personal, so y'all are left with nothing but murky generalities.  The previous five paragraphs were pretty much a waste of your time - sorry 'bout that.  I'll get back on the horse after the first of the year and start teasing out some of the angles that have been banging around in my head, then lay them down here for your reading pleasure (I really need to do a proper Beefheart memorial to start with).

Until then, I raise my cup of haterade and toast another year down the tubes. Onward into the fifth decade.  Or is it that I'm already a year into the fifth decade?  I never understood how those things work.

Fuck it.  Happy New Year to everyone.  Let's make this one better than the last.

December 17, 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart

This man is the single most important musical influence in my life.  I think he is the greatest rock musician ever, even though he arguably didn't "know" how to play an instrument.

I will write on this at a later time, when I really can approach the topic in the detail it deserves.

December 10, 2010

That Bastard Chavez!

Freaking communist asshole, subverting capitalism by making socialism tasty!

From Wikileaks, confidential cable 10CARACAS43, from the embassy in Caracas to the office of the Hillary ("Big Balls") Clinton, cc the consuls in Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Thessaloniki, Quebec, Recife

1. (C) Summary: President Chavez made socialism taste better with
the December 22 opening of a "socialist arepera" serving
Venezuelan-style tortillas at a fraction of their usual price.
The "Arepera Socialista" is planned to be the first of a chain of
Venezuelan government (GBRV) restaurants run by the Ministry of
Commerce. This restaurant is the GBRV's latest effort at setting
up alternatives to the private market, branding national symbols,
like the "arepa," as part of the Bolivarian Revolution, and
providing tangible benefits to its electoral base before the
September legislative elections. End Summary.

Socialism's Tangible - and Tasty -- Benefits

2. (U) President Chavez opened the "Arepera Socialista" with much
fanfare on December 22, advertising its low price and high quality
as symbolic of the benefits of his socialist revolution. (Note:
"Arepas" are a Venezualan-style thick cornmeal tortilla usually
used for a type of sandwich. End Note.) The restaurant, located
in a lower middle class neighborhood of Caracas, serves "arepas"
for about a fourth of their regular price. It is currently only
open during weekday mornings, although there are plans to extend
its hours, add coffee and fresh juice to its menu, and open two new
locations in working class neighborhoods.

3. (SBU) On a January 8 visit, EmbOffs witnessed a long line of
people waiting to get into the restaurant but surprisingly rapid
service. Inside, one wall was dominated by a quote in large red
lettering from Simon Bolivar: "The best system of government is
that which produces the greatest happiness." An employee managing
the line said the restaurant served 1,200 customers per day. One
man in line said he worked in the neighborhood and came every day
since the food was excellent and cheap.

Money is Secondary in Socialist Restaurants

4. (U) According to Minister of Commerce Eduardo Saman, people
can count on low prices at the "arepera socialista" because the
ingredients come from government-owned companies and other
products, such as boxed juices, come from government-owned
companies. Saman claimed the prices were sufficient to cover the
store's operating costs. He also announced on December 23 that a
chain of "Arepera Socialista" restaurants would be opened
throughout Venezuela as part of the Socialist Market Cooperatives
run by the Ministry of Commerce. Saman himself worked at the
restaurant on December 24; other Ministry of Commerce employees
were "volunteering" at the restaurant on the day of the Emboffs'
visit. About 30 people work at the restaurant.

4. (U) Besides the price, Saman highlighted another key difference
between socialist and capitalist "arepera": customers pay only
after eating, while "in fast food chains . . . they only think
about money." In the "Arepera Socialista," the cash register is in
a corner of the room and customers pay only after eating,
self-reporting how many of the "arepas" they ate.

5. (C) Facing high inflation, electricity and water rationing,
and failing public services, Chavez may see the "arepera
socialista" as a relatively quick and easy way to promote the
benefits of "socialism" to his electoral base before the September
legislative elections. The challenge will be meeting demand
without raising the subsidized price or cutting quality.

THIS IS SERIOUS!  "Tasty" products of a socialist state, undercutting the rightful, god-given flavor of capitalism, and flouting "low price and high quality" as benefits of the "socialist revolution"?  BASTARDS!  How dare they strive for quality AND low price!  And, on top of that, the "long lines" of customers are subjected to "SURPRISINGLY RAPID SERVICE"?

I must pause.

Will these godless Marxists stop at nothing to bring down our way of life?

You see, this is exactly the false utopia* that Marxism poisons us with: you don't get food that is good, cheap, and fast.  It doesn't happen.  It's a pipe dream.

But wait, there's more:

"The customers pay only after they eat" . . . ???!!!?  WTF?!  This isn't Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, this is freaking Trotsky's South American Bread Thing!  If you want to eat at a place what takes your money AFTER you eat, you need to sweat and save!  You need to climb the ladder of capital!  You don't just get this shit given to you!  Communist!!

And, on top of that, you have the leering Simon Bolivar: "The best system of government is that which produces the greatest happiness".  Is it?  Is it really?  "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" . . . yeah, that's right, that's another communist by the name of John F. Kennedy.  Except JFK, being a rich white boy, was a communist who ultimately knew the value of a buck, so he knew: capital doesn't serve you, you serve capital.  And, if you want that fuckin' biscuit, you're going to fuckin' pay for it first.

This subversion of the American way of life will not be tolerated.  This tasty threat will not stand.

Soon, the CIA will hook up Bobby Flay, and then there'll be REAL "Throwdown".  He'll get down into the streets of Caracas, and he'll whip up some of that sweet chili sauce, work up a base with cumin and parsley, maybe milk some cilantro, and he'll have some FUCKING BACON (the REAL secret weapon of Capital), and the working class will be eating out of his hand . . . the dictatorship of the proletariat will be overthrown by PORK . . . 

 . . . and, at the moment of triumph, the grinning effigy of Flay will intone "if you want that biscuit, you're going to have to FUCKING PAY for that biscuit" . . . 

 . . . and order will be restored to the universe, and the 23rd Carrier Group can just wander off toward Puerto Rico, "nothing to see here . . . "

The price of security is vigilance.  Or something like that.
*  "Utopia", from the Greek ou (not) + topos (place) . . . utopia is "no place" . . . just in case you forgot.

December 5, 2010

Glenn Gould Uber Alles

I've just gained enough sophistication about classical music that I'm starting to differentiate between good versions and bad versions of things, and I'm really jonesin' for the high octane stuff.  To that end, I've taken a dive head deep into the Glenn Gould oeuvre.

I tell you what, that guy's a freaking HAMMER.  Or rather, a lot of hammers just wailing away through piece after piece.  I find it all very breathtaking.  I also look forward to the day I find it all somewhat passe, though it's okay if I never do.

The Glenn Gould list:

Berg, Schoenberg, Krenek: Piano Sonatas
Bach: Two and Three Part Inventions
Bach: Partitas No. 5 & 6
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
Bach: Italian Concerto, Partitas 1 & 2

And here's a video for good measure:

Sweet!  Any recommendations on where I should turn next will be greatly appreciated.

In Rotation:

Shellac:  Terraform
Loren Connors: Airs
Tyvek: Nothing Fits
Aurturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Debussy Images 1 & 2; Children's Corner
Urge Overkill: playlist
Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet
Frank Frost: Frank Frost
Howlin' Wolf: Moanin' After Midnight
Group Doueh: Beatte Harab
Bud Powell: Jazz Giant
Frank Sinatra: Sinatra Sings His Greatest Hits
Cecil Taylor: Conquistador!
Arto Lindsay: Mundo Civilizado
Charles Ives: The Holidays Symphony
William Burroughs: Dead City Radio
Various: The Sounds of Excello Vol. I
Mike Cooper: Blue Guitar (Ten Songs for Guitar and Voice)
The Alban Berg Quartet: Debussy & Ravel - String Quartets
Various 7" singles by: Deerhunter, Lawrence English, Philip Jeck and Marcus Davidson, Sleep~Over, Wipers, Shellac, Beck, Dinosaur Jr., Electric Bunnies, Factums, Gaunt, Greenhorn, Little Claw, Pink Reason, Queen Victoria, Red Krayola, Skin Yard, Times New Viking, Sonic Youth, etc.

and, involuntarily, that fucking dogs barking "Jingle Bells" song, a version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by some modern R &  B diva who goes HORRIBLY FLAT at the end (makes my hair stand up every time), someone doing a really mediocre "Ave Maria" (is that a Christmas song?), the Muppets "Twelve Days of Christmas", that Chipmunks Christmas song, that really bad George Michael Christmas song, and, well, you get the picture.  This is just horrific.  I"m calling my union rep!  Oh, wait, no union . . .

Well, until next time . . .

December 1, 2010

The Flying McBob

Just one more Pacers post, & I'll move along.

Good times.