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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Luis Fernando Montoya! we are thinking of you..

in one of the saddest episodes i've heard of in a while, Montoya, 45, and the coach of colombian soccer club Once Caldas was shot at least two times while trying to resist two scum that were robbing his wife who had taken out some money from an ATM to buy christmas gifts for poor children.

Montoya this year pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Latin American soccer history by leading unheralded tiny Once Caldas to victory in the continent's club championship the Copa Libertadores de America... they even took down world club giant and personal fave of mine Boca Juniors.... Once Caldas went on to the World Club Cup (the Intercontinental as it is called) final in Tokyo where they just lost to Porto of Portugal on penalties... Montoya resigned after the game...

Montoya is currently in a hospital in Medellin in critical condition. Doctor's have confirmed he is now a quadriplegic.

Monday, December 20, 2004

This Year's Model

This is our third annual christmas mix track listing.....we thinks its a winner!.

1. The Christmas Song The Raveonettes
2. Santa Claus is Back in Town Elvis
3. 2000 Miles (live) The Pretenders
4. Jingle Bells Frank Sinatra
5. The Christmas Ball (From 1925!) Bessie Smith
6. Hawaii Island Christmas Leon Redbone
7. Thanks for Christmas XTC
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas Chris Martin (of Coldplay)
9. The Christians and the Pagans Dar Williams
10. Red Nosed Reindeer Blues (live) Asylum Street Spankers
11. Santa Bring My Baby Back Elvis
12. Christmas Party The Walkmen
13. Christmas is going to the dogs The EELS
14. Christmas is a Joyful Day Lord Executor
15. It’s Christmas Time Yo La Tengo
16. Baby, It’s Cold Outside Tom Jones (with Cerys)
17. Christmas at the Zoo Flaming Lips
18. Christmas Night in Harlem Louis Armstrong
19. Baby, Please Come Home Death Cab for Cutie
20. Father Christmas The Kinks
21. Dig that Crazy Santa Claus Ralph Marterie
22. Just Like Christmas Low
23. Silent Night Johnny Cash

Thursday, December 16, 2004

MP3 Blogs rock my world!

are blowing me away... they are multiplying at an incredible rate with all sorts of interesting stuff to be found...i like the idea of a so called audio blog where someone puts up a track or two every day or two and explains or somehow sheds some light on the songs background...if i can someday figure out how to host mp3s here i might try to do so... these are some of the ones i've been checking out lately:

Friday, December 10, 2004

Apparently Bob Dylan's first television interview in nearly 20 years was not on 60 minutes but rather on this past sunday's Simpsons!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Backstage after the show December 8: Kim Deal in very good form on the right!.. David Lovering looking shifty on the left (he and Joey headed to 18th Street Lounge after show and this may be him making a break for it)..unidentified person trying to get some of that rock star pixie dust in the middle....picture courtesy of "EL BARTO".. hint-click on picture

The Pixies December 8, 2004 Constitution Hall DC its happened to me... got to see the pixies live... what can one say or write? its always strange to see a band live when you've listened to their songs 1000s of times with no expectation of ever getting to see them live... we'd heard the stories about the bitter breakup with frank black aka black francis aka charles sumner aka pillsbury dough boy faxing the rest of the band a letter telling them the pixies were over back in 91... we lost track of david lovering (drummer) and heard he was doing hocus pocus tricks to make a living.... frank black kept putting out music and developed a new hard core following but i lost him around cult of ray or black deal led perhaps the most colorful life leading the breeders to mega sales and becoming a member of the guided by voices worship society before spinning ever downwards in what appears to have been a blaze of glory no a haze of hard bitter drugs....joey santiago meanwhile led a real low profile with his new band the martinis...

fast forward to earlier this year when we heard frank black throw out the idea of a pixies reunion... a ton of shows later frank or black is leading a band that has played sold out shows all over europe and the US and is wrapping up a tour that has grossed the ungodly sum of $14 million at the pixies home base: the northeast... starting with DC and heading to the loci in boston only to end up with something insane like 9 sell outs in new york...

DAR Constitution Hall in DC is a better site for Opera or Nina Simone's farewell tour than it is for the pixies... but there they were playing a place with security tighter than at the Pentagon... where you can't even light up a cigarette.. where beer is $6.50 a cup or wine is $7.50 a thimble...where everyone's seated and you are not allowed to even dance in the aisles.... my idead of hell... but in the end i reneged on my boycott and thanks to my friend Dan Wray was looking pretty in an aisle seat in row S....

i see baldheads back stage.. they're coming out.. and just like that the pixies barnstormed through about 80-90 minutes of very fast paced rock... one classic followed another...they did shortshift my favorite pixies album Trompe Le Monde and focused on their more popular early work with Come On Pilgrim/Surfer Rosa/Doolittle getting played extensively... i think for me the biggest thrill was seeing Joey Santiago wailing away playing his style of surf punk guitar... the sound was LOUD but whenever he would start hammering away i simply had to take out my improvised plugs... kim deal thundered on bass.. to me, from my vantage point, the sound was very good... anyways, kim's bass was turned up as one would expect... david lovering was banging on the drums for all the marbles..meanwhile frank black or whatever he's calling himself shrieked and screamed his way through about 30 good modern rock stars they kept their contact with their worshipers to a minimum with kim throwing in a few comments.. she also managed to smoke a cigarette here or there.. guess when you're bringing the bacon the DAR people don't have as much of a problem with the second hand smoke?!....towards the middle of the set my friend Randy Smith did me a huge favor and let me use his ticket to stand in ROW 1 yes ROW ONE NUMERO UNO ICHIBAN right smack in front of joey who was wailing away and it was measurably louder and more powerful and intense up there.. i saw why people pay the big bucks.. anyhow... i stayed for two songs.. the second of which to my delight turned out to be a searing debaser!!!!!!! at one point joey looked at me as if to say "where did this clown in the wackjob hat come from?"..the rest of the show was one great tune after another.. we got some joey guitar feedback effects.. then the band played a four song encore...

what to say.. reunions generally never live up to the hype but i thought they sounded really good..really tight.. and they seemed to be enjoying themselves.. its nice to see them come back in their prime and getting their just deserts..its nice for me to GET to see them...i can only hope they get back in the studio soon and keep on writing their story.. there's no reason its got to end......

the golden stub

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

want to turn out the party? play this Iron Buttefly record which features a torture inducing insanity instigating 19 minute version of In-a-gadda-da-vida! the place will clear out faster than if you'd run out of beer! (nice collage on the cover though...)

Bob Dylan on 60 Minutes

so Dylan made his first Television interview almost 20 years.. by my count his last one was for an Australian program back in 1986.... the interview ran on 60 minutes this past sunday... as usual he says very little!... if you missed it you can check it out- and i'm not sure for how long- at

On a related topic i've gotten about half way Dylan's recently issued book "Chronicles Volume 1" me its fascinating reading... you can look at the book in different ways... the writing itself (the style if you will) is interesting... dylan's is a great writer in whatever medium he chooses.. wether a song lyric or a book... as far as what he is writing about i find some of the observations revealing.. to get his extended take on harry belafonte for example (particularly knowing- bob does not mention it in his book- that his made his debut on a recorded album playing harmonica on a belafonte record).... to read that he believes woody guthrie sent him out on an ill fated trip to his wife's home from his hospital where he lay dying to pick up a box of discarded lyrics which subsequently became the mermaid avenue project boggles the mind.. what if he had got his hand on the lyrics?.... all i know is the book is what dylan is willing to write for us to read........ its one version of history.. the fact that he's put it out there makes it of interest.. at the very least, and if you're as distrusting as i am of his motives, we know this is what he wants us to think and we can wonder why..obviously for someone like myself its a bit dissapointing to read his constant attempts to distance himself from the the 60 minutes interview for example he makes it quite clear that if people attached political meanings to his songs such as times they are a-changin' they were not listening to the songs.. that seems hard to accept...even for me, someone, perfectly happy to have followed his songwriting arc as its evolved over the past few decades...

then again we have to keep in mind that dylan has always used his interviews to confuse rather than clarify the matter so why would 60 minutes have been any different?

Acclaimed Music

One of my absolute favorite web sites is “Acclaimed Music” at This site is run by a Henrik Franzon who I believe lives over in Europe probably in Sweden. Anyhow, the idea is this: to take all music critic lists and some high profile reviews such as the ones at the All Music Guide to derive, via a statistical program of sorts, the 2000 most critically lauded records in rock and roll (including soul, reggae and all sorts of music but limiting jazz to the more rock albums such as Miles’ “Bitches Brew”). Originally the list covered only 1000 albums. Using the same lists Henrik also arrives at the most critically acclaimed artists. Now, this project is superior to the ones we see gracing music magazine covers every month (i.e, Rolling Stones’ Top 500 rock albums) because it is fairly exhaustive. If you click on an album or single fortunate enough to make it you’ll see all the sources from which it obtained points. Furthermore, Henrik is permanently updating the list. As far as I know it’s a unique idea. Now obviously most of the say top 100 albums music lovers have all heard as they are the standards core of any decent music collection but its fascinating to look at the list and find records one has never heard of and give them a chance and lo and behold 8 times out of 10 the albums have something interesting to offer. You could do worse than accumulate the top 1000! I do have some disagreements because obviously no list is going to take into account my personal taste..but.. Nirvana at number 3? REM’s “Automatic for the People” at 44? Bob Marley’s “Natty Dread” ahead of “Catch a fire”(at 137)..etc.. but you could worse than these 100 records.

Friday, December 03, 2004

2 quarters gets you this...

Politically Incorrect

Recently at a hipster bar in Adams Morgan INXS came up. Although I trust my judgment I sensed my friend expected me to be embarrassed for lauding them and we quickly moved to another more dispassionate topic. This got me thinking about how unfashionable it is to claim INXS as an extremely talented rock band with a perfect front man.
Recently picked up their “Kick” LP and listening to the record spin I thought about their lead singer/songwriter/showman/sex magnet – there I go again…I see my friends brow raised in further disapproval- Michael Hutchence who died just about seven years ago at the age of 37 which seems perceptibly younger every year.

The day the news broke I was on a weekend visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina which INXS had conquered ten years earlier while I had been living there. Back then you couldn’t walk down the happening Avenida Florida without hearing “Need You Tonight” blaring from some cheap store speakers followed by say the Gipsy Kings and Pet Shop Boys. Argentines are more broad minded in some respects and certainly more loyal than American fans. They don’t see much wrong with liking prog-rock (Yes and Rush), Ramones (the world’s most hard core following is in BA), the Cure (you wouldn’t think it but mopheads abound), INXS, Bon Jovi, GNR, Nirvana and Radiohead as the years go by without feeling it necessary to put down the previous hot band. Meanwhile Americans it seems to these humble eyes are permanently renouncing their past fandom with a swift backlash never too far behind. Argentines that liked INXS back in their heyday still do so while up here sentiment is either “Never liked them” or for the more honest, because lets be clear someone bought those millions of records, “I can’t believe I ever liked them.” You wouldn’t know it that INXS was as popular as U2 in 1987.

Anyways it was a gorgeous early summer day and I passed one of the innumerable kiosks that sells newspapers and magazines and saw one with a giant front page headline “Muere Michael Hutchence”.. and just like that the guy was gone…I think the world misses him.. I know I do… To be fair INXS had lost me with their next to last album “The Gift” which was crummy and even I stopped paying attention…I was surprised to learn that this album features a collaboration with none other than Ray Charles.. How do you like them apples? My copy is in storage somewhere but I’m eager to listen to this no doubt gem…INXS put out an album right before Hutchence passed, “Elegantly Wasted”, that I never listened to .. still have not..

I will say it clearly: I think INXS was a great rock band with one of the best frontmen in rock history.. Hutchence is often compared to Mick Jagger and with good reason.. he would preen and pout and swagger like a decadent rock demigod to perfection…Part of the allure of the rock star traditionally was he could act out all our desires and excesses (INexcess) that we could not…bag all the hottest babes… Hutchence was all this…

I like to think the difference between INXS and Radiohead exemplifies much of the contrast in what I call the poles or r’n’r..on the one hand INXS whose lyrics were largely about sex and hedonism.. a lead singer who by design or chance was always dating the hottest model around… On the other side meanwhile Radiohead, and I like them, I have no idea what the heck they are talking about… .. a less sexy singer than the lazy eyed albino Thom Yorke’s harder to envision.. his writhing in pain frenzied singing style about as attractive as a one winged butterfly.. but as much as I respect radiohead I think they are out to kill rock ‘n roll.. by taking out all the sex all the drugs all the fun and leaving us simply with whining pain and misery and darkness their android like post rock is slowly turning more and more people away from rock (much like Coltrane’s “Ascension” and Ornette’s free style improve did for jazz)…it is a neat trick cause all the while radiohead are at #1 with all the hipness and credibility of Ernest Hemingway. but what I’m saying is they are #1 in a smaller world…it is also remarkable how radiohead has managed to be heavily prog and count with an audience who loathes the real McCoy…

To me INXS was what rock was about.. about all the possibilities that come with being young and free.. but in the current post rock world of course you are frowned upon for actually saying something intelligible in your lyrics (don’t be literal!)…or even for saying to the crowd at a concert “Everybody having fun tonight?”…better not talk to the crowd.. be like Dylan…be the anti-hero… the anti-rock god …and if you are literal and actually put on a rocking show it better be over the top like darkness so that the fun is being in on the joke…in today’s world you are cool the less cool you seem to want to be..isn’t that more hypocritical than just being cool?…I mean have you seen the sweaters thom yorke wears? On the other hand hutchence looked like a male model.. In today’s world you’re cool if you purposefully avoid making a video..

Looking at the songs on INXS biggest seller, KICK we see their best known song “Need You Tonight” .an open ode to the one night stand… or “devil inside” about two people, yes, on a one night stand with the line “Look at them go look at them kick makes you wonder how the other half lives…”, well the other half might just be the half that listens to radiohead on Friday nights….or we have “new sensation” which again is about enjoying the heck out of whatever you got..

I think its sad that INXS’s “legacy” has been shredded to a pulp.. first the confusion about whether Hutchence’s death… did he asphyxiate trying to wank off or was it a suicide over a girl? Or what? And then we have the remaining members of INXS current ploy to find a new lead singer via a Mark Burnett (i.e., survivor) produced reality show…INXS current legacy has the weight of a paper clip and it is sad to see that taking into account how many great songs they came up with over a TEN year period from “don’t change” to “heaven sent”… it somehow seems unfair…

Vinyl Shopping in DC!!!!!!!!

Well its been a while since I’ve put anything up on this blog…. Not sure why…. One thing I’ve been meaning to do is inventory the different stores in Washington DC that carry (mainly used)vinyl so here goes my attempt…

First of all the CD Game Exchange chain stores always have some vinyl.. now most of it is trash (Streissand records galore, records way scratched up [why do you guys buy these?], etc.) but occasionally you can find something nice… It’s a great pace to buy all those 80s albums on vinyl that you would never buy but might if you could get them for a quarter or two…but like I’ve said I’ve found some gems there too… the main stores I like to hit are the one in Adams Morgan (by 18th and Columbia) and the one by the Tenleytown metro….now its also true you have to go often as you never know when a fresh stock of LPs will arrive and they don’t stay around once they put them out (the wolves are hungry hungry like the wolf)…

Smash records in Georgetown is one of the better places in DC.. its on M street about two blocks from Wisconsin…it used to primarily cater to punks (its been around over 20 years I think) but has recently been shifting more and more to vinyl. There are crates and crates…some real bargains.. I found a Sgt Pepper’s mono for $5 and even the original US Beatles album, “Introducing the Beatles”…plus the guy who owns and runs the store is about as nice as they come.. Bobby… he does occasionally list his higher end stuff (say an original Nick Drake or Blue Note) on ebay but I can forgive him that…they’ve got a web site at

Second Story Books is an interesting animal.. the store in Dupont Circle.. (right off the circle) can be times they have a great record in great shape for $5 and at times the same record completely trashed will be $20.. lately they seem to be marking up the jazz stuff (isn’t everyone?)… but you can occasionally find something good here...i recommend it.. now the new branch in Bethesda (two blocks from the metro) is a little pricier…back in the day I found Dexter Gordon’s “GO” on original pressing for $20 at dupont.. doubt that would happen today but I keep looking! They also have a web site at Obviously its mainly a book store but they get good vinyl turnover at the dupont locale..

The newest entrant in the vinyl sweepstakes.. the new kid in town to quote the eagles of soft rock are crooked beat records also in adams morgan..they just opened recently and they have a nice selection of both used and new vinyl.. the guy that runs the place, neil bechton, is a great guy… and they occasionally put some nice stuff in the dollar bins….... I found the lynrd skynrd original flames cover (howard park autographed!) for a buck and even the doors strange days (tan label baby!) for a dollar….they are at somewhere around 2300-2400 18th street….check them out at Check them out!

Orpheus Records is located in Arlington right off of the metro stop after Courthouse (Clarendon or Ballston why can’t I remember?)….these guys have been around since BC… check them at … I occasionally poke in here but they don’t renew stock that fast, they don’t have it well organized and its overpriced…

Joe’s Record Paradise located in Rockville Maryland is a store I would go to a lot more if I had a car… its pretty much too far from the metro though I’ve done it… huge selection… check them out at this is where I bought public enemy’s it takes a nation of millions to hold us BACK y'all!…..

I would say that’s the A-List of DC Vinyl..

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Is it just me or does Bush look like a cowboy? is his hand making sure its close to the holster?

Belated congratulations to DC's one true champion..

DC United has won its fourth MLS Cup!! Pretty impressive considering there have been less than 10 played...even more impressive is the fact that the team, during the regular season, was pretty mediocre.. I saw them play one game this season (New England) and came away with the impression that the MLS level of play had weakened since its inception.... Back in the first couple of years DC United counted with John Harkes and Etcheverry as playmakers and Arce as its principal weapon.. they had Pope and Sanneh on defense.. (if i remember correctly they all played at the same time give or take)...They were no Manchester United but they could play and it made sense that, even with some changes in personnel, they won the MLS Cup 3 of the first 4 years...The new team reminds me of my favorite club side Boca Juniors (of Argentina) whose main attribute is the will to win no matter how ugly.... Anyways, at the DC United game earlier this year I was favorably impressed by Kovalenko, Cristian Gomez (from Argentina of course who scored the loan goal), Moreno and the goalie...One of the problems with the MLS is that the championship is decided in the American TV friendly style of the playoffs... in the entire rest of the world WITHOUT EXCEPTION 40 games (Argentina has two half-seasons of 20 games) or more are played and whoever comes out with the most points win (then many countries feature a playoff style Cup played at the same time)... which I think is the way it should be..but here in the US the marketing "gurus" of the MLS wanted to come up with something like the Super Bowl or baseball playoffs so a team like DC United which finished the season with 11 wins and 10 losses thanks to finding its form during the playoffs is now champion (the MLS system is a combination of the european league and cup competitions!).. now, DC United plays by the same rules as everyone else and it is the champion fair and square.. but I have to wonder about this MLS system... I also have to wonder about the level of play in a league where such a mediocre team as DC United managed to become champion..I'll take it though... For all the talk about the Redskins, Capitals and Wizards DC United is the only championship team we have...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Went to see "Sideways" this weekend...its the new Douglas Payne movie.. he's the director (i think he also does some writing for the screenplays of his movies) behind "Election" and "About Schmidt"...

I like his movies..He strikes me as more of a european filmaker than a hollywood one... his films seem to focus around existential themes and are developed through dialogue/voiceovers rather than action...they are "realist" pictures...

anyhow i don't believe in reviewing movies.. i think people should see films for themselves and make up their own minds. preferably see a movie with as little information and few preconceptions going in as possible...don't read reviews and try to avoid previews!

but i do strongly recommend this movie...

once you've seen it you may wish to check out this Douglas Payne interview at:

Monday, November 15, 2004

Stand Up! (get it?)

Spin the Black Circle!

I remember reading once that the paper clip we use is far inferior to many other paper clips that have been developed… or that the way a keyboard or typewriter is laid out is not the easiest or most convenient form.. but its what we use…

People sometimes find it ridiculous when I sing the praises of LPs as compares to the newer medium of CDs..there’s a feeling that only a curmudgeonly hermit who refuses to adapt to evolving technology would feel this way.. but in my case I purchased over 1500 compact dics before beginning collect vinyl…. I discovered records after CDs…believe me if CDs were better it would have been in my interest to accept it!.. but I have come to realize that vinyl is largely superior due to aesthetics, sound quality and what I call intangibles.. first of all, in the days of records the LP cover was in it of itself a piece of art… the people that designed the Pink Floyd LP covers, for example, were every bit artists.. things like gatefold or even trifold covers, pop ups (check out the picture of Jethro Tull’s “Stand Up” if you don’t believe me) inner sleeves (with lyrics that are actually in a readable font!), the record’s labels themselves, and double LP packages are greatly diminished by the CD (some would point to this as the CDs greatest attribute as it allow for portability what cost sez moi)…. Sound-wise I find the digital compact disc “cold”… analog sound is constant and to my ears generally provides a warmer fuller sound than the laser beam… It is also nice to see the record spinning on a turntable as opposed to a CD which you stick in a player and have no idea what is going on in there…and as far as the intangibles, for me, the feeling derived from playing a 1951 original Billie Holiday 10 inch LP or the original “Kind of Blue” record simply cannot be matched by a CD…I find it interesting that the CD will perish soon, replaced by MP3s and IPODs while the LP will live on forever.. QED

I would recommend anyone who enjoys music purchase a turntable.. you would be surprised how easy it is to find records at inexpensive prices..when CDs first came out people bought into the idea that LP were poor sounding and parted with their LP collections almost instantly relegating their records to the landfill and replacing them with inferior CDs (yes, inferior.. the first pressings of record company back catalog were made in a haphazard manner and ended up sounding worse!.. only now a few remastered issues later and with the advent of SACD and hybrids are CDs beginning to approach the original LP issues in terms of sound quality)..sometimes I wonder how many of the 30 million copies sold of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” at least half on vinyl, still exist…

Washington DC is not a great town for crate diggers…that rare breed that gets his kicks hunting for records…the best town I’ve seen for vinyl has to be Seattle…. But DC like every town does have its places/moments for the crate digger…I hope to write about these soon…

"see this needle...a see my hand...drop, drop, dropping it down...oh, so gently...well here it comes...i touch the plane...turn me up...won't turn you away...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...whoa...pull it out...a paper sleeve...oh, my joy...only you deserve conceit...i'm so big...a-my whole world...i'd rather you...rather you...than her...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin,'re so warm...oh, the ritual...when i lay down your crooked arm...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black, spin the black...spin, spin...spin the black circlespin, spin...spin the black circlespin the black circle...spin, spin...spin, spin..."- Pearl Jam

Friday, November 12, 2004

Roxy Music's "Country Life" LP (1974)

election wrapup (Part I)

And so it came to pass that the American people elected George W. Bush to a second term. Four more years of the smirking cowboy! Be very concerned if not alarmed. I recommend all non believers read Ron Suskin's article on the workings of the Bush administration which ran in an October New York Times magazine. Whatever funny business may have taken place Kerry did not do well enough in the popular vote to put himself in a position to question anything but his campaign 'strategery'. Since secession or suicide are not viable or attractive options we must work over the coming four years to preserve a strong democracy at home, restrain cowboy shenanigans abroad, and push for some semblance of sane fiscal discipline. We must also push for improving the electoral process. It is patently unacceptable that in the wealthiest country in the world, where we concluded an election for President costing over $1 billion on advertising alone and where we pat each other on the ass for counting with the longest running democracy, many citizens vote with rickety antiquated machines prone to breakdown or wait in line, sometimes in the rain, for five hours to vote, or a highly partisan corporation such as Diebold provides voting machines that fail to count with any paper trail. Come on! And whats up with not voting on a weekend or national holiday, anyways?

The Bush administration will lecture us that they have gained political "capital" they intend to spend. This Bush pearl of wisdom is akin to walking through the hood bragging you've got $40 in your pocket or telling your hooker you've got two bills you're looking to blow. The Bushies will atempt to steamroll opponents into submission and we must remain on guard. The fourth estate ought to refuse to be cowed by Bush shennanigans of the type on display at his recent press conference (one question rule? say what?). The media needs to step up over the coming four years and refuse to be suckered a la post 9-11/run up to Irak. Implicit in preserving our democracy is keeping a mindful eye on Bush's judicial nominations while saying a little prayer that Justice Stevens makes it to the young age of 88.

We will also of course need to find ourselves an American representing our nation's core values, which are NOT bigotry, lying, torture, or the murder of innocent women and children, and capable of winning the 2008 Presidential elections. To win we should examine what went wrong and right on November 2 and in recent history for the democratic party. Basically we need to do a lot of homework commencing pronto. I say a lot because the democratic party has turned into the party with the big L on its forehead. In the period 1968-2008 there have been just three democratic administrations: Carter's completely failed turn and Clinton's (the first of which would have never happened but for the "grace" of Perot) two terms. The words of the warden in Cool Hand Luke ring true: "What we have here is a failure to communicate." The democratic message is simply not playing well particularly with white people and I think this has to do less with the message and more with how its being expressed. For example, Americans consistently say when polled that health care is important to them and Kerry made health care for all a major centerpiece of his campaign and yet....

Monday, November 08, 2004

Its the health, stupid!

An annual report that ranks the relative health of individual states based on 18 factors, including smoking, health insurance coverage, obesity and infant mortality supports the conclusion that health rather than moral values played a large role in influencing people's decision on their choice for President. People voted their health with 8 of the 10 healthiest states solidly aligning themselves with Kerry while the 15 least healthy states went for the incumbent.

Since the relationship is correlational causation cannot be inferred. It could be that voting for Bush makes people unhealthy or that people who are unhealthy are more likely to vote for Bush. Another possibility is that there is an intervening variable, whereby states that value health are more likely to have a population of healthy people and are also more likely to choose Kerry as a presidential candidate. More research is needed.

1. Minnesota

2. New Hampshire

3. Vermont

4. Hawaii

5. Utah

6. Massachusetts

7. North Dakota

8. Connecticutt

9. Wisconsin

10. Maine

35. Texas

36. Missouri

37. Nevada

38. New Mexico

39. Kentucky

40. Oklahoma

41. North Carolina

42. Florida

43. West Virginia

43. Alabama

45. Georgia

46. Arkansas

47. South Carolina

48. Tennessee

49. Mississippi

50. Louisiana

Data on health status provided by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention. Electoral data based on results as reported by CNN.

Picture taken this weekend (by Bilal Hussein for AP) of a boy hurt in US attacks on Fallujah, Iraq...his father was killed and his brother was also hurt...may god help us for what we are doing...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

if the shoe fits..

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

recommended movie!

yesterday we went to see the film "Being Julia" starring Annette Benning and based on (heavily) the William Somerset Maugham novel "Theatre" from the 1930s. Annette Benning is magnificent as Julia. She really gets to the core of the character. More importantly to me perhaps is how Somerset Maugham's novel is well adapted to the big screen. "Willie's" image has been tarnished these past two or three decades... Much like Graham Greene he is an increasingly marginalized author..Its a great time to discover timeless books such as "Theatre" (which i belief was out of print until three years ago!) or "Cakes and Ale."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I am away on a mediation retreat. The blog is therefore closed temporarily.. please check back..

Monday, November 01, 2004

Michael Moore's last letter before election

well worth checking out at
he's got something to say to everyone (democrats, naderites, republicans, bush, kerry, etc.).. i particularly enjoyed this excerpt addressed to our outgoing president.

To George W.:
I know it’s gotta be rough for you right now. Hey, we’ve all been there. “You’re fired” are two horrible words when put together in that order. Bin Laden surfacing this weekend to remind the American people of your total and complete failure to capture him was a cruel trick or treat. But there he was. 3,000 people were killed and he’s laughing in your face. Why did you stop our Special Forces from going after him? Why did you forget about bin Laden on the DAY AFTER 9/11 and tell your terrorism czar to concentrate on Iraq instead? There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)

electoral prediction correction..

while i believe kerry will win the electoral vote comfortably i am moving new mexico and missouri into the bush column....(this amends my previous electoral prediction found in the archives)...i am leaving my popular vote percentages and turnout predictions intact...

Gore Vidal speaks...

Noted american novelist and essayist Gore Vidal has given a new interview just before the election....he has some interesting things to say about the process and candidates...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Roger Waters

of Pink Floyd has some interesting comments on our President and our current elections (from an interview on this site

"Institutionalized hatred is only an expression of fear.. George Bush is obviously a deeply frightened man...and always has been his whole life...thats what he gives off. He exudes fear to me..thats why he finds it necesssary to dress up in air force uniforms and parade around on the decks of aircraft carriers. cause he's a frightened little kid.. you know..he's an infant..that politically is the problem. that you have this frightened infant you know in the most powerful position in the western world.."

"If Bush wins this election I won't just be aghast I will be struck dumb..You know..that the american people could reelect this disaster..this total disaster in every way as far as i am concerned.."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

arianna huffington

i think her current column makes some great points..

good article on john peel

Transcript of Bruce Springsteen's Speech Earlier Today in the largest event in the history of Madison, Wisconsin

Thank you! Thank you.

As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.

I think the human principles of economic justice -- just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and still not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home -- I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years. He has an informed and adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us. And that's why we need each other. That's why "united we stand" -- that's why "one nation indivisible" -- aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and a safer place.
Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator -- he said the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and to work hard for it. Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

So let's roll up our sleeves. That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals. And besides, we had a sax player in the [White] House -- we need a guitar player in the White House.

Alright -- this is for John. This is for you, John.
[Bruce launches into No Retreat, No Surrender]

80,000 people turned out to see John Kerry at a rally earlier today (October 28) in Madison Wisconsin.. a very special guest turned out...Fire Chiefs estimated an additional 20,000 were on sidestreets.. this makes this even the largest in Madison history!

Springsteen said his songs were about "who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for now. I believe these essential ideas about America (are) what is at stake on November 2. I believe Senator Kerry honours these ideas, he has lived our history for 50 years. He has formed an adult view of America and its people. The future is now and its time to let our passions loose."

saying "This is for you John" the Boss launched into "No Surrender"

"I am here today to stand alongside Senator Kerry and say that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting, and together we can move America towards its deepest ideas."

Bruce hits the stage in Madison Wisconsin earlier today at a rally for John Kerry!

Bruce getting ready to rock for Kerry!

John Peel can now be found spinning records for Marc Bolan, Ian Curtis, and Nick Drake on Radio Heaven

John Peel, one of the more important DJs of all time (certainly of my time), passed away earlier this week....Would I have been able to listen to much of the great music I've come across in my lifetime without the contributions of this man? I doubt it. As Bernard Sumner of New Order said: "If it wasn't for John Peel, there would be no Joy Division and no New Order. He was one of the few people to give bands that played alternative music a chance to get heard, and he continued to be a champion of cutting-edge music throughout his life."

for more information check out

Quote of the week

"About a year ago, when things weren't going so well in my campaign, somebody called a radio talk show and they said, thinking they were just cutting me right to the quick, they said 'John Kerry won't be the president until the Red Sox win.' Well, we're on our way."
John Kerry October 28, 2004

Boston Red Sox World Series Champions!

Woo hoo! Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918.. goodbye curse..hello nightclub

I don't have the time to provide an exhaustive analysis of the World Series... my earlier post on the Curse of the Bambino provides some background (scroll below).. but i thought i'd jot down a few post-euphoria notes:

The Red Sox outplayed, outpitched, outhit, outran, outsmarted, outcoached and just about did everything better than the Cardinals who put forth an embarassing performance uncharacteristic for a great baseball franchise..

its interesting that before the season started way back in april conventional wisdom held that the Red Sox starting pitching made them a prime candidate to win the World Series while the Cardinals starting pitching would hold them back....well it took the entire season for the Red Sox pitchers to pitch the way they were expected to and they picked a great time to do so.. from game 4 of the American League Championship Series the Red Sox starters were phenomenal (with the exception of Game 1 of the World Series).. meanwhile the Cardinal pitchers proved ineffective...

The big Cardinals surprise was their woeful hitting (What happened to you Rolen? 0-15?? Edmonds?) and poor spark

on the Red Sox side Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz provided some quality hitting but key efforts from a number of Red Sox were the difference...Cabrera and Bellhorn provided some quality clutch hitting while Johnny Damon's home runs in game 7 against the yankees were critical....even Trot Nixon managed to get an important hit in Game 4 after looking like he had lost his swing following his comeback from injuries

Schilling.. what can I say that has not been said... workhorse....stud... an unbelievably gutsy performance...a tremendous ballplayer.. a winner.

its nice Pedro managed to settle down for uncharacteristically smooth sailing in Game 3.... my feeling is he's on a downslope of his career and should not be re-signed by the Red Sox.. the guy is a trubblemaker and unless he is expected to regain his Cy Young form of a few years back there is no point to resigning him.....Lowe however gave me reason to pause before letting him go

the only positive for the Cards? Larry Walker did just about everything he was supposed and expected to.. what a solid performance.... he put it all on the line..

Larussa: never liked him and I ain't going to start now... I don't know what his problem is .. does he get too tense at playoff time? whatever the reason Larussa and post season wins go together about as well as unbiased reporting and Fox News... and if you can't win when it counts what good are you?

it seemed during this World Series that everything went Boston's way.. in fact since Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees its been a dream ride.. 8 straight post season wins establishing a playoff record!

although Manny got the World Series MVP I think the Red Sox relief pitcher Kevin Foulke may have been more deserving what with critical saves in all Red Sox World Series victories...

Nomar Garciaparra??? who dat??? the heart and soul of the Red Sox (and my favorite ballplayer over the past few years) was jettisoned 50 or so games before the end of the season in THE key decision by the Boston brass... after that move, for whatever reason (is Nomar a bad apple??) the Red Sox clicked and made a run at the Yankees for the division...basically they never looked back with the exception of the momentous hiccup against the Yankees in the ALCS...

Red Sox victory ----> John Kerry victory!!!!!!!!!!

the key plays if there were any to the World Series? the home run by Bellhorn in Game 1 after the Cardinals had finally managed to claw their way to a tie ballgame or the Manny Ramirez (yes manny!) throw to home plate to get Larry Walker out (on a momentous cardinals baserunning miscue) with the bases loaded and pedro about to crumble

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pick of the week

The little more than a year between Miles Davis' classic "Milestones" and "Kind of Blue" sessions has to be one of the more rewarding in jazz. Some of my favorite jazz recordings of all time were made in this brief period. Namely:

Milestones (February and March 1958)

Somethin' Else (March 1958)

Miles and Monk at Newport (June 1958)

Porgy and Bess (July and August 1958)

Miles 58 (May and September 1958)

Jazz at the Plaza (September 1958)

Kind of Blue (March and April 1959)

This was the period when Miles Davis was transitioning from his original great quintet which featured Coltrane on sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on the drums. Over the course of a few months Bill Evans would play a couple of historically crucial sessions, Cannonball Adderley would join as a second saxophone player and Jimmy Cobb would replace Philly Joe Jones. The lineup, which began exploring so called modal jazz, proved unstable but managed to cut perhaps the greatest jazz record of all time: Kind of Blue. As Miles himself would write in his autobiography "I don't think any group ever had two saxophone players who could compare with Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane."

Sometimes lost in the mix is the Cannonball Adderley Blue Note recording "Somethin' Else." I say lost in the mix because it is a recording credited to Cannonball. However, and while I am taking nothing away from Cannonball I believe this record is in actuality a Miles Davis project. From the selection of tunes which includes "Love for Sale" of which Miles led his own recording a mere two months later, to Miles in his patented gruff manner saying right after the performance of One for Daddy-O "Is that what you wanted Alfred?" (i.e., Blue Note label chief Alfred Lion), to "Autumn Leaves" which is all about Miles, to his decision to sit out the fifth track as recounted in Leonard Feather's liner notes: "'I made him play this,' says Miles, 'because I remembered hearing Sarah Vaughan do it like his.'", to titling the album after the Miles original recorded especially for this album (and which Miles never recorded again), etc.

How did Miles Davis come to record this album anyways? After all this must be the first session he did not get top billing in a while and the last one I can think of. Miles writes in his autobiography (after mentioning how he and Cannonball used to hang out as opposed to Coltrane who was "..only really concerned about playing his music and growing as a musician"), and it truly is amazin how little he has to say about it: "Back in New York, Cannonball, who had signed a deal to do a record for Blue Note, asked me to play on the date, which I did as a favor. The record was called 'Something Else' and was very nice."

Curiously enough the spines on the album read "Cannonball Adderley - Miles Davis." Another interesting fact about this record is that in addition to Miles providing support, Art Blakey plays the drums in one of his last appearances as a session musician.

review of record to follow

"Somethin' Else" indeed!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

And the numbers are in!

Transparency International's annual "Corruption Perceptions Index 2004" was released today. What does it measure?

From (check it out for the details/methodology/notes)

"The Corruption Perceptions Index is a poll of polls, reflecting the perceptions of business people and country analysts, both resident and non-resident. This year's Corruption Perceptions Index draws on 18 surveys provided to Transparency International between 2002 and 2004, conducted by 12 independent institutions."

Transparency International notes that it includes only 146 countries as there is not enough data for many countries. It is interesting to observe the listing of the least corrupt countries:

1. Finland
2. New Zealand
3. Denmark & Iceland
5. Singapore
6. Sweden
7. Switzerland
8. Norway
9. Australia
10. Netherlands
11. United Kingdom
12. Canada
13. Austria & Luxembourg
15. Germany
16. Hong Kong
17. Belgium & Ireland & USA
20. Chile
21. Barbados
22. France & Spain
24. Japan
25. Malta
26. Israel
27. Portugal
28. Uruguay
29. Oman & UAE
31. Botswana & Estonia & Eslovenia

and let us look at Latin America in particular

20. Chile
28. Uruguay
41. Costa Rica
51. El Salvador
59. Brazil
60. Belize & Colombia
62. Cuba & Panama
64. Mexico
67. Peru
87. Dominican Republic
97. Nicaragua
108. Argentina
112. Ecuador
114. Honduras & Venezuela
122. Bolivia & Guatemala
141. Paraguay

I don't know if one would go so far as to call it a correlation but it does seem that the less well off, the poorer a nation is the more corrupt it is...Chile's position is a remarkable achievement in a continent rampant with cronyism...

And whats with the United States? I thought the US was tops at everything.. the "envy of the world" as Bush said with respect to our health care "system" (45 million uninsured...oh, i guess they do not count!)

It might be interest to correlate GNP per capita with the corruption indices and see what happens....

is he showing tonight?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Presidential Election Forecast

our model is churning out the following based on all available information.. we believe that give or take the die is cast:

Popular Vote
John Kerry 51.23
George Bush 47.34
Ralph Nader 1.09

State by State

For Bush:
Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Arizona (10), Georgia (15), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), Virginia (13), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3)

Bush Electoral Votes: 207

For Kerry:
California (55), Colorado (9), Connecticutt (7), Delaware (3), Washington DC (3), Florida (27), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Iowa (7), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), Missouri (11), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), Ohio (20), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington (11), Wisconsin (10)

Kerry Electoral Votes: 331

Turnout: 56.8%

Note: Our Model has the most difficulty predicting the behavior of the State of West Virginia.

Note2: We may elect to provide an update...

47west63rd calls Presidential election!!

we know the readership of 47west63rd counts on us for something special..something extra it can't get elsewhere:

after extensive analysis and use of our Election Forecasting Model 2004 we are now able to call this election in favor of Senator John Kerry.

John Kerry will become the 44th President of the United States

George Herman Ruth

Fall Classics

the baseball playoffs this year have been spectacular.... particularly the american league championship series between the boston red sox and the evil empire..a rematch of last years epic 7 game rumble.... there is not much i can say that has not been said.. given that i watched the yankees dismantle the sox in games 1 and 3 (game in which the red sox did not only lose but put in one of the most embarassing and disgraceful performances i have seen) and did not watch games 4 and 5 which the red sox won i fear i will not be able to watch game 6... or dare i say it an eventual game 7....what can i say? this is a cruel fate but i do not want to take any chances here... forces beyond our understanding may be at play!

for those that don't follow baseball the "rivalry" between the bosox and the bronx bombers is one of the more storied in all of sports with one key ingredient missing: some boston wins!.. as the story goes the owner of the red sox, at that time more succesful than the neighboring yankees, decided in 1920 or therein, after a night of binging on crack cocaine, to sell george herman ruth to the yankees in exchange for $150,000 he needed to stage a production on broadway... in pinstripes "babe" ruth became the greatest baseball player in history (yes barry even greater than your ego) all the while creating the yankee mystique..over the next 80+ years the yankees won 26 world series while the red sox have yet to win one.. ergo the curse of the bambino....the bosox have found unusually cruel ways to lose such as the 1986 world series when they lost to the mets in a sure thing that unraveled in game 6 when there were but a few outs standing in their way and a grounder slipped by bill buckner's legs....

to this "historical mix" you have to add a couple spicy condiments:..the current red sox and yankee organizations behave like bitter ex lovers..from red sox brass calling the yankees "the evil empire" to steinbrenner telling to red sox so shut their yap to catcher varitek mauling arod with his glove to last year's 10 rounder between pedro and octagonerian don zimmer and on and on.. these two teams really do not seem to care for each other and their fans like each other far fans copiously breathe green bile whenever they think of the yankees... and speaking of yankees their fans are not particularly known for their appreciation of high art and fine manners...

this year people were particularly high on the red sox primarily due to their vaunted 1-2 pitching punch of curt schilling and pedro martinez.. but curt is hurting and pedro has been ineffectual in this series... somehow, primarily due to the exploits of david "PAPI" ortiz the red sox have eked out wins in games 4 and 5 (both came deep into extra innings in as dramatic as they come fashion: game 4 was the longest american league championship series game in history at over 5 hours.. the next night's game was the longest championship series in history at about 6!!!) and the series is now yankees 3- red sox 2 with the action returning to the house that ruth built: yankee stadium...tonight curt schilling will attempt to take the mound, seek redemption for his game one let down, and even the series sending it to what would be one of the greatest game sevens of all time but lets not get ahead of ourselves....if the gods of baseball so deem it the skies may open tonight giving schilling an extra day to rest his ailing ankle but also giving the yankees some time to recover from the wallop they just received in boston....the yankees led both of the last two games only to borrow a page from red sox history and find ways to thing is for certain: if the boston red sox are to finally bury the curse its going to take something mega dramatic...something along the lines of games 4 and 5? perhaps....

Friday, October 15, 2004

New United Nations Security Council Members selected..

In a secret vote 189 UN members selected the five new Security Council members that will have a seat on the council for two years beginning January 1, 2005. The new members will be:

Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Tanzania and Japan

In the past two years the members of this council took some important votes concerning the invasion of Iraq.

vote pairing? (i.e., strategic voting)

this election looks like it is going to be real close between john kerry and george bush... if you want kerry to become the next President of the United States of America, and agree with ralph nader on most issues (other than perhaps the issue of him running for president), perhaps it might make sense to vote for nader, if you live in safe democrat state (such as Washington DC), in exchange for someone in a "swing state," who would otherwise vote for nader, agreeing to vote for kerry...

i hope that makes some sense..

lets say i live in dc and i like nader but think bush is a danger to human civilization... and lets say someone else lives in washington state and wants to vote for nader badly but also thinks bush is a lunatic.. well then we contact each other and talk about it.. and i guess agree to pair ourselves or in a sense "trade" votes (yes it is legal)..that way its a win win.. nader gets a vote where it does not matter to the final outcome and kerry gets a vote in a state where it is critical he get the votes necessary to pick up the electoral votes...

i welcome thoughts on this as its an idea i'm seriously considering.. i don't believe i have anything to lose given kerry will carry dc's 3 electoral votes overwhelmingly.. at the same time i respect nader's constitutional right to run for president and frankly agree with most of his positions.. there is nothing wrong with a person wanting to serve his fellow fact it is commendable.... instead of kerry blaming nader perhaps he ought to work harder to appeal to those voters attracted by nader... obviously, i would respect a nader decision to drop out (i am hoping he will do so)

check out this site for more info on so called "strategic voting":

and here find their FAQ on vote pairing:

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I present you God's gift to the chip lover....

Kerry 3 Bush 0

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bill O'Reilly's Caribbean Shower Fantasies..

Bill O'Reilly, self professed mr "who's looking out for you," has been hit with a sexual harassment suit.. .the smoking gun has the suit on their web site..

check it out...we'll find out if there is any truth to this (although it seems O'Reilly's on tape..) but i don't think you can make this stuff up!

for the real fun stuff go to the site above but i can't resist including most of paragraph 41 of the lawsuit:

On or about May 2003, Defendant BILL O'REILLY took plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS and her college friend to dinner at Da Silvano's. During the course of the dinner, O'REILLY repeatedly propositioned the women, singing the praises of telephone sex, offering to telephone them both, and suggesting that the three of them "go to a hotel together and have the time of [their] lives." O'REILLY further suggested that the women needed to be trained so they'd be equipped and ready to go when a "real man shows up in your lives," and offered "lessons."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Impressions from last night

we were fortunate enough to be at the vote for change tour finale here in washington dc last night and here are my scattered thoughts about what ended up being a five and a half hour show...

  • john mellencamp kicked things off.. obviously its always tough to be the opener as people are busy shuffling in... boy am i glad we got there a few minutes into his all too brief set.. the set was anchored by three well known numbers: paper in fire, authority song and pink houses which was one of the highlights of the night.. it was evident mellencamp no longer has the range he did 20 years ago but he more than made up for this in spades with smarts... the band arrangement's were quite tight... we were left wishing he had played more...john summed up my thoughts when he finished his set with a reference to how it just is not right that in today's america your patriotism is questioned when you question your government...
  • bonnie raitt played some mean slide guitar.. she shared the stage with keb mo (no guitar slouch himself) and jackson browne who was elated to be a part of this....bonnie though stole the show on this bill.. her personality just overpowered all around her...
  • REM came on and got the house rockin' with a wonderful "the one i love".. michael stipe flailed around like a lunatic but what stuck in my mind is how well his voice has held up... his voice sounded exactly like on the record 20 years ago.. "losing my religion" really got the crowd involved.. there is no doubt that other than springsteen stipe was the best frontman of the night.... eddie vedder came out rather sheepishly for a duet as did springsteen.... the cries of "bruuuuuuuce" made it amply clear that a large contingent of his fans had made the trip down from jersey/philly.....
  • it was nice to hear james taylor..another old guard singer songwriter clearly glad to do what he can..he made a few astute observations which i paraphrase: "i really hate hearing people say we should not change horses in midstream... i mean when he's drowning and clearly in over his head.. and we've got a perfectly good mule (kerry)".. and "people ask me what you say to undecided voters about how to pick a president... well i say.. you look at the two candidates..and.... you pick the smart one! its not that hard!"..the dixie chicks played a nice arrangement of dylan's "mississippi" utilizing an arrangement closer to the sherryl crow version than the dylan "love and theft" version
  • dave matthews played a pretty long set (definetly the longest set of the night without guest stars)... at the beginning on "don't drink the water" i thought the DMB sounded like a bad imitation of peter gabriel era genesis but as the set went on and they began to throw in some of their classics they really won me over and they really had the crowd going....
  • if you notice i've skipped over pearl jam its because their set for one reason or another was largely forgettable... i am convinced that they are one of the best live bands around but last night i just did not get into them.... vedder closed with dylan's "masters of war" which made me think "where is dylan anyways?".. i don't think the parallels with the bush administration were lost on anyone..
  • and then springsteen and the e street band came out... what most everyone had been waiting one left the MCI center before the boss finished up around 12:30.... springsteen began with a semi-solo (some keyboard backing) rendering of the star spangled banner on steel string guitar.... i appreciated this as i think republicans have this horrible tendency to seek to appropriate the symbols of our country for themeselves (all the while weakening the country) and challenging the rest's patriotism... from the star spangled banner springsteen moved to a passionate goose bumpage causing "born in the USA", "badlands" and kerry's campaign song "no surrender"..... at this point the crowd was going crazy...john fogerty came out after a nice introduction and played his new anti-irak war song "deja vu all over again"... which took the crowd down about 10 notches... however he kicked it back up for a rousing "fortunate son" (could there be any better song to describe bush and his policies?).... then the boss proceeded to convert himself into a minister for john kerry..

(to be completed)

The odd couple?

Bruce Springsteen watches as Michael Stipe does the "lightbulb" at last night's Vote for Change Tour finale here in Washington DC. (picture courtesy of and

Monday, October 11, 2004

Kerry wins second debate but media too chicken shit to give him the victory

Gallup confirms what I already knew. Kerry beat Bush handily in the second debate (the town hall debate held Friday). Too bad the media has been busy spinning the debate into a draw.. by the time they are done who knows what people will think?

from gallup's poll conducted over this past weekend and just released this afternoon...

30. Regardless of which candidate you happen to support, who do you think did the better job in last Friday’s debate: John Kerry or George W. Bush?
------------Debate 2-----------Debate 1
Kerry-----------45 --------------- 57
Bush------------30 ---------------25
Neither----------1----------------- 1
Both equally---10-----------------5
No opinion-----14----------------12

please excuse the formatting but i need to learn the html for BLANK SPACE

Old News

I don't always agree with Thomas Friedman. Specifically, I think we should not have invaded Irak while he was a strong advocate for it but these words in his Op-Ed piece October 3 ring true:

"Sorry, I've been away writing a book. I'm back, so let's get right down to business: We're in trouble in Iraq.

I don't know what is salvageable there anymore. I hope it is something decent and I am certain we have to try our best to bring about elections and rebuild the Iraqi army to give every chance for decency to emerge there. But here is the cold, hard truth: This war has been hugely mismanaged by this administration, in the face of clear advice to the contrary at every stage, and as a result the range of decent outcomes in Iraq has been narrowed and the tools we have to bring even those about are more limited than ever."


"For all of President Bush's vaunted talk about being consisten and resolute, the fact is he never establishd US authority in Iraq. Never. This has been the source of all our troubles. We have never controlled all the borders, we have never even consistently controlled the road from Baghdad airport into town, because we never had enough troops to do it."

you want more?

"Mr Kerry's own views on Iraq have been intensely political and for a long time not well thought through. But Mr. Kerry is a politician running for office. Mr. Bush is president, charged with protecting the national interest, and yet from the beginning he has run Iraq policy as an extension of his political campaign."

Jon Stewart book signing in Washington DC

Friday October 15
1 pm Comedian Jon Stewart and Ben Karlin sign copies of America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, created by Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," at Politics and Prose, 202-364-1919

catch up post via this sunday's washington post book world

so i have not been blogging much lately...been reading a bit more.... there's a lot of interesting stuff out there as of late.. just look at this sunday's washington post book world:

"naked airport - a cultural history of the world's most revolutionary structure" by alastair gordon... basically a history of the airport... a subject that never gets much ink....definetly need to read this if only for professional reasons...

"exuberance- the passion for life" by kay redfield jamison... a book about exuberant personalities (i.e., people who are passionate about life)..

then three books about the modern pharamaceutical industry (i.e. racket) in the US.. indeed: why do americans take so many pills?

"chronicles: volume one" by bob dylan....i'm not sure what i think about this book based on what i'm reading... seems like a book of writings by bob dylan but don't look for an autobiography here. the man is obviously extremely private.. anybody who refuses to mention his wife by name can't be called open.. however, some of the things that might turn off more casual dylanistas appeal to me.. for example, reading that two chapters are devoted to the underrated "new morning" lp... but i'm not particularly interested in reading bob quotes of the "goons were breaking into our place all hours of the night. at first, it was merely the nomadic homeless..."..whine whine and "i owed nobody nothing. i wasn't going to go deeper into the darkness for anybody. i was already living in the darkness" variety...

then joel kotkin reviews a few books about the european/french view of the world... he seems very concerned with economic growth figures but seems to miss the point.. if they don't want four giant screen tv's/four cars per household . if consumerism is not what they are about why do they need GNP growth a la USA... GNP growth figures adequately measure progress USA style (i.e., increased production) but do they measure anything else.. if you do not want to consume more why do you need to produce more?. i mean check what kotkin says here "worse, the many structural flaws in its economy- the generous pensions, extra leisure time and early retirement praised by rifkin- are precisely what limits future euro-growth to less than 2 percent annually, widening the gap with the United States and potentially placing europe behind burgeoning asian economies.".. geez maybe i prefer to see the gap widen so long as i can spend some time in the french riviera or retire at 50...

"the double" by jose saramago.. this is the new book by nobel prize winner saramago.. i once tried to read saramago's "blindness" and nearly fell into a coma... seems things have not changed per jonathan carroll's review: "what's more, if the subject of a novel is a dull man, there must be something at least a little itneresting in his everyday existence to keep us interested. Unfortunately, in The Double it takes close to half of the novel's 300 pages for the protagonist to even get up the nerve to send a letter..."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The emperor has no clothes

On November 2nd Americans will go to the polls and hold an election. Hopefully this time the votes will be counted but alarm bells ring when we hear the Governor of Florida ridicule former President, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and all around good guy Jimmy Carter's concerns about the electoral process in Florida. This is particularly distressing because Mr. Carter has overseen and certified dozens of elections all over the world and is recognized as an eminent authority on holding fair elections! Given Florida's inability to hold fair elections last time around Jeb Bush would better devote his time (1) consulting with Mr. Carter on how to hold elections, (2) explaining butterfly ballots to senior citizens in his state, or (3) checking state rolls to make sure floridians are not being illegally disenfranchised. We absolutely want freedom for the Iraqui and Afghani people, for all people's really, but we also want to be free to vote in the US.

Americans by now have had nearly four years of George W. Bush's service as president. As he is an incumbent we can benefit from consulting his track record in weighing if his performance makes him deserving of four more years.

Nobody believes that being president of the United States of America is an easy task. We understand, Mr. Bush, that, as you so often reminded us during the first presidential debate, "'s hard work." But, when we elect our president we privilege that individual by depositing our collective trust in him to act in our best interests.

Because George W. Bush is an incumbent the first question, even before looking at possible alternatives, is if he interprets and executes our wishes appropriately. Unfortunately, it often seems that this President and his administration fail to realize that they work for us. They don't appear interested in hearing from us on what we wish for them to do and this makes the job, yes, harder than it need be. Rather, this President seeks to minimize contact with us and limit accountability for the actions undertaken. He has held the fewest press conferences of any sitting president in recent memory and when he actually meets with a select few of us (I stress he is working for us- he is our "public servant") he does so in carefully scripted, tightly controlled and pre-packaged townhall meetings open to those in agreement with and supportive of the president. Then when he, and his vice-president, are forced to debate on, and yes even defend, THEIR track record and future plans for US they seem peeved and unhappy. They emit a "how dare we have to stand up here and talk to these other pretenders to the throne" vibe all the while making faces. During the first presidential debate George Bush, public servant number one, visibly appeared to resent providing answers and defending his record in keeping us safe. Meanwhile, his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, on numerous issues simply refused to provide any answers as opposed to other issues where he simply answered questions of his own imagination (Mr. Cheney, the question was about AIDS in the US not Africa! the question was about JOBS!). The President and his team apparently believe that "democracy" is an exercise we undertake every four years while during the rest of the time we blindly follow their directives. Lucky for us we know that in reality democracy is a constant process where they follow us!

September 11, 2001 was a very bad day for americans. I am not as sure as the President and Vice-President, however, that because of September 11 everything must change. There were terrorist attacks on the US before September 11 and there will surely be attacks afterwards. Its not always popular being top dog. A lot of things have had to change and a lot more will continue to change. Yet life goes on despite September 11 and I still check to see if the Red Sox won last night, or Bob Dylan is still on the "never-ending" tour just like I did on September 10. There is little doubt that September 11, 2001 represents a huge failure of the government to keep us safe. I do not think much is accomplished by debating wether we should blame one administration or another. Yet however painful it may be for the administration to acknowledge the attack of September 11 happened under George W. Bush's leadership. A lot has happened since September 11th. Sometimes it seems another lifetime and sometimes I am a bit fatigued thinking back on all that has happened. But one of the things I believe we must do in deciding wether to reelect George Bush is look back at his response to September 11.

There is no doubt that attacking the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was the appropriate response given the fact the Taliban was providing safe-haven to Al Qaeda terrorists that attacked us (Mr. Bush, and I know you probably know this but just in case, the mastermind of September 11 WAS Osama Bin-Laden NOT Saddam Hussein). However, there is also little doubt that George W. Bush has been unable to bring Osama Bin-Laden to justice. The man who masterminded the attacks on us is at large. This constitutes failure. The inability to bring to justice the man responsible for killing 3000 citizens and destroying the lives of tens of thousands more is the second biggest failure of the Bush administration. Again, Mr. Bush, we understand its "...hard work" but thats why you get to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and drive around in fancy cars! Currently, opinion on the success of the war in Afghanistan is divided. The Bush administration emphasizes that Afghanistan is free, that women are free to go to school, that the Taliban has been destroyed, and that Afghanistan is about to hold democratic elections for President for which more than 10 million afghanis have registered to vote including millions of women. Some observers however point out that large sections of Afghanistan are under the control of warlords that in the past were sympathetic to or openly allied with the Taliban. Others mention that the number one afghani export consists of poppies used to make illegal drugs- heroin- sold to, among others, our people. Still others point to the fact that many international development non governmental organizations have left Afghanistan citing security concerns, or that the President of Afghanistan's helicopter was nearly blown up on a recent attempt to campaign outside of Kabul while the Vice President was very nearly killed this week, as ominous signs that a battle still rages. Regardless, it is clear that the Taliban are in hiding, and that President Bush has been able to somewhat internationalize efforts to rebuild Afghanistan and this must be recognized.

Yet one wonders what happened to the "we will hunt them down in their caves and kill them" cowboy spiel we used to get from the President.

to be continued/updated/edited

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

In case you are keeping score

I am not sure what the Government of Israel is thinking.... As Gandhi said "an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind." I think of my grandfather who when the state of Israel was created would send in his monthly contribution to support Israel. I think of my jewish roots. I can't help but feel that the current State of Israel has become its own worse enemy. I may not like the palestinian leadership (Yasser Arafat) but that does not excuse the things Israel is doing in Palestine.

The first interesting weekend read was in this Sunday's New York Times (p. 8 International). I quote fully and freely:

Intifada's Four Years
The second intifada has cost nearly 4,000 lives so far. Figures are from Sept. 29, 2000, to Sept. 15, 2004 and do not include 138 suicide bombers.

Palestinians * Killed By:
Israeli security forces 2,827
Israeli civilians 32
Palestinians 130

Israeli Civilians Killed By:
Palestinians 632
Foreign Citizens 3
Palestinian citizens of Israel 3

Israeli Security Forces Killed By:
Palestinians 284
Palestinian citizens of Israel 1

Foreign Citizens Killed By:
Palestinians 40
Israeli security forces 10

Palestinian Citizens of Israel Killed By:
Israeli security froces 17

*figures do not differentiate between Palestinian combatants and civilians

Sources Btselem, an Israeli human rights group; Israeli Foreign Ministry; Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group; BBC

Source for 47west63rd: New York Times, October 3

In addition yesterday, October 4, on NPR it was reported that 75 palestinians had been killed in Gaza (in the past month) by israeli security forces including 19 children (including a four year old girl). The source given was also Btselem the Israeli human rights group.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Debate Post-Debate

I find presidential debates fun to watch.. Andrew Sullivan on his blog over at makes some good points. I include some quotes here but please go over to his blog...


  • In tone and bearing, he seemed calm, authoritative, and, yes, presidential. I watched the C-SPAN version on a split screen, and in that context, it was particularly striking. In stark contrast to the Bush-Gore debates, it was Bush who was grimacing, furrowing his brow, almost rolling his eyes and at the very beginning, looking snippy and peevish.


  • His best line was in asserting very clearly that he has had one position on Iraq all along; that Saddam was a threat and that there was a right way and a wrong way to remove him; and the president chose the wrong way.


  • But the missed opportunities were stunning. At one point Kerry even got Bush to agree that terrorists were streaming over the border. And then he failed to ask why Bush hadn't sent enough troops to secure the border! He kept implying that the goal was to bring the troops home, and only at the very end did he assert that we were there to win, not to withdraw. Uh-oh. His assertion that WMD proliferation was the major threat to the U.S. was, on the other hand, very convincing - and by that point of the debate, the president was reduced to echoing him. In fact, Kerry was strongest, it seemed to me, at the very beginning, when his stature rose merely by being there, and at the very end, when he seemed commanding. He had the best closer.


  • On the more general point about alliances, Bush did well - espcially on the International Criminal Court, and on the need to base foreign policy fundamentally on the defense of the American people. More Americans will agree with him on this than with Kerry. Still, there were major weaknesses. If you believe, as I do, that the Iraq war is beginning to spiral downward, Bush was not reassuring. He seemed as out of it as ever. When Kerry rightly pointed out the failure of Bush to revamp the CIA or to secure Soviet nuclear material, Bush simply and sadly responded that every morning some guy comes in and briefs him on national security. Now I feel better. And you don't want to be the president who is forced to say, "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us." Moreover, his fundamental critique of Kerry - that by criticizing the war, he had made himself unworthy to be commander-in-chief - was dumb and border-line offensive. It implies that if you've ever criticized the president's war conduct, you cannot succeed him in office. Huh? By that logic, the only credible alternative to Bush is someone who has agreed with him every inch of the way. Memo to Bush: we live in a democracy.


  • Kerry has to gain, I think. At the very least, this was a draw on the president's most favorable turf. Afterward, only the Bush supporters seemed concerned that their candidate had lost ground. They should be. Watching Bush last night, I saw a president who sometimes didn't seem in control of his job, a man who couldn't and didn't defend the conduct of the war except to say that it was "hard work," who seemed defensive, tired, and occasionally rattled.

  • In some ways, this might turn out to be a version of the 1980 Carter-Reagan match, when Reagan was able to convince people, by his persona and presence, that he was up to the job. Yes, Bush is not as bad as Carter and Kerry is, of course, no Reagan. But the dynamic was somewhat similar. In other words, Kerry gets back in the game, reassures some doubters, buoys his supporters, and edges up a little. Oh, and one young man in the audience had just returned from serving his country in Iraq. Yes, he'd seen the war upfront. He knows what were doing over there first-hand. And he's voting for Kerry. - 2:04:19 AM

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Let the bubbly flow! Washington DC has a baseball team!

Ypee! As of this moment I am spinning off all baseball commentary to a dc baseball specific blog at:

GO to your record store and pick this up!

Dexter Gordon’s “Go” (Blue Note LP 4112) is one of my favorite jazz recordings. GO is a recording of a standard jazz jam by four "cats" that took place on August 27, 1962 in New York. The cats? Dexter Gordon on the tenor saxophone, Sonny Clark on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums.

At the time of this recording Dexter Gordon was about to turn 40. He had spent most of the 1950s battling drug addiction instead of recording but by the early 1960s he was clean and newly signed to Blue Note Records and his initial blue notes, including the appropriately titled “Doing Allright” had reestablished him. However, GO, the third of his six original blue notes, would become his crowning achievement.

On this recording Dexter was paired with pianist Sonny Clark who would die within a year of this recording at the age of 31 from drugs. Sonny Clark had led his own Blue Note dates including the wonderful “Cool Struttin’.” His contributions to hard bop jazz and this recording in particular cannot be overstated and his premature death was a tremendous blow to jazz. Sonny Clark’s piano style is elegant and the phrase “tinkling the ivories” is particularly apt. His playing is crisp and light and sometimes seems to float. The interplay between Dexter and Sonny is what elevates GO to desert island status. Their playing on GO is extremely self assured and confident while at the same time improvisational. They are supported on GO by the extremely competent and experienced rhythm section of Billy Higgins and Butch Warren who played together on a great number of classic blue notes.

Upon putting on GO the first impression is that Dexter Gordon’s tenor saxophone tone is easily distinguishable and recognizable. To quote Marc Greilsander’s review on “He possesses an enormous tone, yet he never overwhelms the song or the listener.” The record begins with the wonderful Dexter Gordon composition “Cheesecake” on which Dexter blows almost nonstop. The next track, “I Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry” showcases Dexter’s excellence on ballads on which he is supremely romantic. His lyrical playing oozes complete control and confidence. Dexter Gordon’s playing is not free jazz. One has no trouble following the melody and you can almost hear his sax singing the words. This song includes some wonderful brushes by Billy Higgins.

GO is a classic hard bop swinging album and “Second Balcony Jump” returns to the swinging fold with a fun vibe. On this track Dexter really soars when he lets loose although he restrains his tone. Sonny Clark throws in a nice tease before plunging into his solo. The song conveys unbridled joy and Sonny Clark and Dexter conclude by playing in unison with some nice drums thrown in for good measure at a climactic end. The fourth song, another swinger, “Love for Sale” written by Cole Porter took me a while to appreciate. I was very familiar with the Miles Davis/Cannonball Adderley version on another classic Blue Note date: “Somethin’ Else.” This version features some nice comping by Sonny and some great interplay with Dexter Gordon eliciting responses from Sonny (at about 3 minutes 45 seconds into the song). Dexter Gordon throws in an unbelievable “La Cucaracha” (i.e., “Mexican Hat Dance”) quote at about 6:15.

The next track, “Where are you” is a ballad featuring some beautiful bass plucking by Butch Warren and Dexter sounds positively joyous at about 3:30. This gives way to the soaring, and in my opinion highlight track among highlights, “Three O’clock in the Morning” which has got to be one of the happiest jazz songs this listener has ever heard. Dexter just flies and throws in the kitchen sink with a “Take me out to the ballgame” quote at 4:38. As Greilsaner points out “He’s always quick with a humorous quote, yet it always seems to fit just right.” Dexter Gordon’s tone on this number is warm and happy and borders on ecstatic at times.

I can’t get enough of music like this and if you have not heard this session I urge you to rush to your nearest record store and pick it up.

GO!!!!!!!!! Blue Note lp 4112

Montreal Expos moving to Washington DC

The 33-year wait for a baseball team is coming to an end as Major League Baseball will announce later today that it is moving the Montreal Expos to DC. In order to placate Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos MLB is taking the unusual step of guaranteeing Angelos a revenues floor.

Meanwhile the Washington DC City Council has told MLB it will approve a $440 million publicly funded stadium for the new team. The financing will supposedly be covered by business taxes on baseball related goods and services (unclear wether this will include the unprecedented move to tax player salaries).

Lauded Expos General Manager Minaya is moving to take the GM position of the New York Mets so the Expos will begin anew in DC.

MLB will sell the new DC team to a private investor in the coming weeks.

My cursory look at the current Expos roster saw two big names: Jose Vidro at second base and Livan Hernandez on the mound. The Expos are currently in last place in the NL East where the new DC team will play. The other NL East teams will be our (and does it not feel nice to say that) main rivals:

Atlanta W 93 L 65
Philadelphia W 81 L 75
Florida W 81 L 76
New York Mets W 70 L 88
Montreal Expos W 65 L 93

Look its baseball!

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