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Friday, December 30, 2005

music listening in 2005 & beyond...

I don't have 10 favorite albums released in 2005..i probably don't have any real stone cold classics i heard released this year...not more than a very few anyways..

but I doubt this is because there weren't any classics released this year!....

more than likely its that my listening tastes have evolved away from modern rock/alternative or what have you.... the arcade fire or bloc party releases are probably as great as pitchfork says they are (though i must submit i find their reviews and critical writing horribly annoying...its the tone/language they use to express themselves..that sarcastic holier than thou one) but i never heard them... the arcade fire may mean the same thing to today's young people as "sticky fingers" did to its generation and a few that came after it.... and while there are hundreds of rock and roll records i love and play once in a while (less frequently i admit) i look at modern rock as "kids music" lacking the complexities and intricacies of jazz...i just don't appreciate them in the same way....i can't appreciate the new franz ferdinand the same way as a record by art blakey...and when frank black or black francis or charles sumner sing or even bob dylan i can no longer deny it does not hit me in the same way as billie holiday twisting a phrase..

so in 2005 my tastes continued to drift towards jazz and away from rock/folk/country and pretty much anything else....the exception is international music... i've been getting more and more into the latin music and brazilian music and any other cool sounds from around the world...i think there is a lot of great international music to discover and get more into.... cuba's beny more.... or say nigeria's fela kuti...or that recent lp bamako dimanche i think its called which manu chao produced..

i thought seu jorge's "carolina" album from 2002 was one of the better things i heard and thats as brazilian as brazil... an argentine modern rock band, babasonicos, put out a record- "anoche"- which i heard a few weeks ago and i think is one of the few modern rock albums i actually enjoyed...

i've held for a long time that rock is de-evolving and has been turning on itself for a while now... the punk explosion of the late 1970s may go down as the last gasp of rock and roll....i still think the year 1994-1995 was a great one what with guided by voices, pavement, liz phair, jon spencer, and a million new acts breaking out with their best records...but the jury is still out on how great or lasting these records will prove to be... i was surprised recently on checking out the matador records bulletin board and seeing a post on how great the current crop of matador artists was compared to what had come before.. i had to laugh...but then upon thinking on it maybe i'm wrong.. maybe 1994 was a great year for a twenty something obsessed with his walkman who now prefers a bud powell record from 1954?

when the strokes "is this it?" was released to acclaim in 2001 i enjoyed it tremendously.. at the same time i emphasized its retrospect that may have been one of the last rock and roll records which i truly enjoyed, which i think holds up, and on which i and the rest of the society agreed...... if i really wanted to criticize modern rock i might point to the fact that its increasingly irrelevant to degrees never seen before...hip hop and overproduced kitsch pop dominate the airwaves and sales and even concert receipts with rock , save for a few stalwarts (the U2s or Rolling Stones), doomed to small clubs..

and this is not supposed to sound or read negative.. i'm excited about discovering artists like willie colon, barretto and the great fania records salsa roster from the 1970s... i'm looking forward to giving a listen to a bunch of new argentine rock releases... and i will continue to scour the earth and ebay for those elusive wunderjazz lps.....but i doubt i will stumble upon something new from rock that entrances me like say the pixies trompe le monde or belle and sebastian's "if you're feeling sinister".... and thats partly because i don't need it as much but also partly because i think its less likely to exist....

but if somehow..through miracle of christmas miracles a band like 1970s AC DC arose from the ashes i'm pretty sure i'd be loving it!...

Elvis Costello interview

ran across an interesting billy bragg interview of elvis costello (from 1995) here:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

John Kerry calls it like it is..

Bush's defense of spying on americans is "lame" he sez...

check it here:

This Year's Model

set list for this year's holiday mix.. for next year i want a little more rock and roll.. and a little more channukah songs.. but i have to say this year's mix works quite well..

1. Mistletoe and Holly Frank Sinatra
2. That’s What I Want for Christmas Nancy Wilson
3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Dean Martin
4. Soulful Christmas James Brown
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus The Ronettes
6. Go Tell It On the Mountain Blind Boys of Alabama w/Tom Waits
7. Merry Christmas, I Love You James Brown
8. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town Ray Charles
9. Candy Cane Children the White Stripes
10. Santa Claus Blues Champion Jack Dupree
11. Feliz NaviDada El Vez
12. To Heck With Ole Santa Claus Loretta Lynn
13. Frosty the Snowman The Ronettes
14. Dig that Crazy Santa Claus Brian Setzer Orchestra
15. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm Billie Holiday
16. Christmas is Coming Vince Guaraldi Trio
17. Mele Kalikimaka Asylum Street Spankers
18. Gotta Be Good Chris Isaak
19. Here Comes Santa Claus Esquivel
20. Christmas Time is Here Vince Guaraldi Trio
21. What are you doing on New Year’s Eve? Brian Setzer Orchestra
22. Auld Lang Syne Chris Isaak

I think worth thinking about...(press release post)

Boxer Asks Presidential Scholars About Former White House Counsel's Statement that Bush Admitted to an 'Impeachable Offense'

December 19, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean's statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.
Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."

Boxer's letter is as follows:
On December 16, along with the rest of America, I learned that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge. President Bush underscored his support for this action in his press conference today.
On Sunday, December 18, former White House Counsel John Dean and I participated in a public discussion that covered many issues, including this surveillance. Mr. Dean, who was President Nixon's counsel at the time of Watergate, said that President Bush is "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." Today, Mr. Dean confirmed his statement.

This startling assertion by Mr. Dean is especially poignant because he experienced first hand the executive abuse of power and a presidential scandal arising from the surveillance of American citizens.

Given your constitutional expertise, particularly in the area of presidential impeachment, I am writing to ask for your comments and thoughts on Mr. Dean's statement.

Unchecked surveillance of American citizens is troubling to both me and many of my constituents. I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter as soon as possible.


Barbara Boxer United States Senator
# # #

Monday, December 19, 2005

My letter to DC Councilmember Jack Evans

I love baseball and had been hoping for years DC would obtain a major league franchise. I enjoyed the Nats this year and attended 8 games.

However, even a huge baseball fan such as myself is offended at Major League Baseball's approach. All they seem concerned about is obtaining the most money possible from the city of DC so as to sell the team for the largest possible amount and then divide up the "winnings" on their US$200 million investment (approximate amount they paid for Montreal Expos franchise).

I do not believe the council ought to approve any stadium deal and I urge you to keep a watch on the city's financial commitments with relation to the stadium.

I also would tell you that myself and everyone else I talk to believes that RFK is a fine stadium for baseball. I understand that MLB wants their new stadium and thats part of the agreement but the agreement cannot be a stadium at any cost. I urge you to cap the city's commitment. If MLB cannot accept a cap or if a cap prevents a stadium being built on waterfront (which I agree would be a pity as revitalizing that area is important) then I suggest baseball relocate the Nationals to some other city -I doubt they have that many other serious options- or accept a stadium at RFK site.

thanks for your work for the community,

Voila! this is the original Xavier Cugat "Ole!" LP cover (subsequent issues changed a bit getting rid of the Cugat cartoon and orange triangle and altering the color scheme)...this lp is from January 1955.... this is one of the more classic LP covers and of course features Cugat in the background looking like he is directing his orchestra while all eyes focus on his wife the magnificent Abbe Lane who sings on three of the albums' tracks..."Ole!" is distinguished from a lot of Cugat's LPs on Columbia in that it features material specifically recorded for the album instead of simply compiling material or reissuing songs from old 78s or 10 inch lps... Abbe once said "Jayne Mansfield may turn boys into men, but I take them from there." Yowza! She was born Abigail Francine Lassman on December 14, 1932 in Brooklyn and is currently living. Good for you Abbe! Ms. Lane recorded her own succesful albums including "Be Mine Tonight" with none other than Tito Puente... Abbe Lane is currently viewed by some as a woman who allowed herself to be exploited and used as a sex object while at the time many viewed her attire and attitude as tramplike.... I say its a great album cover!

the Columbia black label present on issues GL 500 to GL 525 was replaced by this maroon label with gold lettering.... it is still unclear until what issue this maroon label runs .. my thoughts were always until mid 650s but it appears that the early 700s or late 1955 when Columbia changed to its classic six eye label ... Billie Holiday's "Lady Day" (CL 637) came out on maroon label... this label corresponds to one of the more classic LP covers of all time..

Evo Morales. The 10,000 peso question: will he able to govern?

Bolivia's native indians have put one of their own in the Presidency. This is a pretty picture, no?

Evo Morales triumphs in Bolivia elections!

if the goal of US foreign policy (if there is a foreign policy) vis a vis Latin America is to encourage the ascension of leftist anti-american anti-globalization governments then by all accounts US foreign policy must be judged a sucess...

to Uruguay (moderate left), Brazil (moderate left), Argentina (left), Venezuela (strongly left), Chile (moderate left/centrist) we now must add Bolivia (strongly left)....

this represents a large shift that seems to be ongoing and upcoming elections in Mexico will be very important.. will former Mexico City leftist mayor unseat Presidente Fox's party? Will Lula retain control in Brazil?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

lawbreaker flaunts it!

George W. Bush:
"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States,"

Wait a minute! Are you saying the American people expect you to break the law and "authorize" illegal spying on them?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

2005? Good riddance!!!!!!!!

2005 was not a good year... both on a personal but more importantly on a global level it was just not that good... the point of this blog has never been to belabor the ups and downs of my own life... but rather to share some thoughts on things I enjoy or at the very least enjoy thinking about (i.e., i may not enjoy the bush presidency but i do enjoy thinking about politics)..

on a national political level i think 2005 was a very bad year.. the worse since 2001.... it had to be that way when bush got reelected towards the end of 2004.. a year that begins with bush's second inaguration- an event organized in such a manner to discourage the citizens of DC who i remind the president own this town from attending- and continues with an inability or cowardice by large segments of the american public with respect to accepting the reality that this group of idiots or worse thugs is systematically destroying the things that make america great (yes, even freedom mr. president.. you talk a big game but all the while you preach its virtues you do your best to restrict our freedoms)

and people kept dying in iraq.. for what has never been less clear than now and yes i realize they are holding elections and am glad but would they have been any less able to hold elections with a drawn down US presence and exit strategy? me thinks not..

even my other love, argentina, let me down by embarking once again on the same journey of awarding unfettered power to a president who will no doubt abuse his authority to perpetuate himself in power until he wreaks enough havoc on argentines' lives that they remove him from power and probably put him in jail...... the same vicious boom bust econo-political cycle has been going on down there since 1819 with few exceptions..

but the real tragedy of 2005 was mother nature good ole earth...... its impact far and away greater that of this nincompoop... wether the tsunami, the earthquake in pakistan, the hurricane in new orleans or what have you according to a UN study 350,000 people were killed by natural disasters... 200,000 millionUS$ in losses........ that the pathetic pitiful response to hurricane katrina did not arouse ire with more staying power leads me to conclude that the person of the year in 2005 was the american coward...sad but true.. a people unwilling, unable to grasp to even understand that its government has become its enemy.. an ineffectual paranoid power grubbing money lusting torturing privacy invading oil guzzling civil right denying jingoistic behemoth..

one can only hope 2006 will be better!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sometimes it is trying to be an American

The US Government will not allow Cuba to participate in the World Baseball Classic which for the first time would pit professional players from the various baseball loving countries in a competition. Just one more in a long line of mistakes by the US government vis a vis Cuba.. US foreign policy towards our island neighbor stopped making sense around 1961 and it just keeps getting worse.. now we won't even allow sporting events between our two nations...;_ylt=AjFoab4HzFBALLOTFlZWV2gRvLYF?slug=ap-classic-cubadenied&prov=ap&type=lgns

Boca Juniors are once again where they should be: Argentine soccer champions. By defeating Olimpo of Bahia Blanca -a city I have great affection for- 2-1 they sealed the "Apertura" (i.e., first half of the year) championship. Look at Battaglia holding the cup!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

and the band fritters on...

from Uk newspaper The Independent:

$204.4 billion: The cost to the U.S of the war so far.

2,339: Allied troops killed

15,955: US troops wounded in action

98: U.K troops killed

30,000 : Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0: Number of WMDs found

66: Journalists killed in Iraq.

63: Journalists killed during Vietnam war

8: per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

53,470: Iraqi insurgents killed

67: per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343: Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American
soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

5: foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47: per cent Iraqis who never have enough electricity

20: casualties per month from unexploded mines

25-40: per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251: Foreigners kidnapped

70: per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

183,000: British and American troops are still in action in Iraq.

13,000: from other nations

90: Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

60-80: per cent Iraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops

Monday, December 12, 2005

Miles Davis in Person Friday Night at the Blackhawk, San Francisco Vol. 1 CL 1669.... this is a great LP cover.. unfortunately Miles had enlisted Hank Mobley for his Quintet which was in transition at this time (1961 I believe).... Anyways Miles it is my belief just did not appreciate Hank or give him the opportunity to play his type of jazz.. instead he wanted Mobley to do his type of jazz. ..fair enough when you're Miles Davis but I don't think Hank excelled in this envinronment....From Miles autobiography its pretty clear Miles did not dig Mobley.. Mobley around this time recorded some of my favorite records including Soul Station which I think blows Miles' contemporanous output away: Take that Miles!

the original Columbia label precedes the maroon which precedes the six eye which precedes the 360.. you get the picture.. there are only 25 issues with the black label many of which are junk easy listening compilations... this album was subsequently reissued as a CL 817 or some such

This is an interesting lp to me because it is one of the first.. this is Columbia GL 520 .. the GL prefix was utilized on the first 25 Columbia LPs before switching to the CL prefix... This LP is from 1952 and includes the first Columbia record label which was black...Bunk Johnson was an old New Orleans jazzman who supposedly had played with Buddy Bolden (the first great jazz musician- never recorded- and for whom there is not much evidence).... this may be a myth....the liner notes are by George Avakian who of course went on to bring Miles Davis to Columbia only three years later...

this may be one of the best David Stone Martin LP covers. MG C 679 by the Art Tatum Roy Eldridge Alvin Stoller John Simmons Quartet...

David Stone Martin drew about 400 LP covers mainy in jazz.. not sure if this includes the numerous eps too....This is a classic drawing utilized for various Oscar Peterson "songbook" type LPs including this one Clef MG C 604...

Heidi Klum perhaps the highlight of the draw for Argentina!

excuse the poor picture quality but the point is made.. Pele is overjoyed to pull the holland ball sticking them in argentina's group. he admitted as much afterwards and even reportedly said "YES!" under his breath to the FIFA person behind him... later on he said something to the effect that if maradona had attended and drawn a ball everything could have been different.... pele once again not a friend of argentina's and honestly an attitude below his reputation... whoever thought this of pele? Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 09, 2005

Former Argentina coach Bilardo speaks:

"It's a tough group. It's the toughest," said Carlos Bilardo, who coached Argentina to the 1986 title. "The good thing is that it will be defined against the Netherlands, probably the team to beat."

Analysis of World Cup draw from Argentina's coaching staff

I have tranlated statements just made by Argentina's field assistant Hugo Tocalli (right hand man to Argentina head coach Jose Pekerman) who attended the world cup draw earlier today in Leipzig, Germany:

"Its a World Cup, its a draw and we have to win the games. No need to dramatize, just as we shold not celebrate if we had got weak rivals. Our World Cup is these three matches and then we will go little by little. "

"The matches have to be played with a positive mentality and thinking about our team. They (i.e., other teams in group) are now thinking they have to play Argentina."

Tocalli emphasized that the coaching staff "..has a lot of confidence in the group. Beckenbauer told me this is the toughest group. I would not say this is the group of 'death', but that it is difficult."

"We have to play with Holland that is in a generational change with young kids. Serbia and Montenegro for whom it is the first time they are in a World Cup and Ivory Coast that plays soccer well"

According to Tocalli "they are all tough teams but we are clear we are not below any of them."

The key according to Tocalli is "think first about ourselves and that all the boys arrive well. We have a team that plays well and players for eveyrone to have confidence in our chances."

Tocalli also referred to the team's place of concentration which Argentina will use during its stay in Germany, the site of the Adidas company in Nuremberg: "We are not going to change it even though we are in the Hamburg zone. We will move in charters and surely arrive at the hotels one day before each game."

Opponent#3- Holland

Opponent #1- Ivory Coast

Opponent #2 Serbia Montenegro

how did ivory coast , serbia and holland qualify?

it seems official now that we are in the toughest group... after all ivory coast is africa champion..

Holland: won its group undefeated (won 10 and had two draws with 27 goals in favor and only 3 against!) and picked up the most points in european qualifying (32)
Ivory Coast: won Africa's Group 2 with 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats.. 20 goals scored.. 7 goals against
Serbia Montenegro won 6 matches and tied four obtaining 22 points in winning its group (over Spain)

YIKES! this is worse than i thought...



was Serbia ranked 47 by FIFA if they only allowed 1 goal in 10 qualifying games??!?!?!

perhaps i underestimated them! the group all of a sudden seems tougher... a draw against serbia will not do for argentina

and its official: we are in the toughest group.. if the AP says it its got to be true (not!)

Argentina and Netherlands clash in toughest group
December 9, 2005
LEIPZIG, Germany (AFP) - Two-time champions Argentina and the Netherlands will clash in Group C at the World Cup with Cote d'Ivoire and the dangerous Serbia and Montenegro making the section one of the toughest.
Argentina, winners in 1978 and 1986, are second favourites behind Brazil but they won't thank the organisers for the draw made here on Friday.
The Argentines, coached by Jose Pekerman, have beaten the Dutch just once in five meetings but it was a satisfying result coming in the final of the 1978 tournament on home soil.
The Dutch, unseeded, were the team that everyone wanted to avoid but neutrals will look forward to the pair's June 21 clash in Frankfurt.
Coached by Marco van Basten, the Dutch have twice been runners-up in 1974 and 1978, and can call upon the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart.
Argentina too are blessed with talent throughout the squad, Hernan Crespo will be expected to supply the goals, Lionel Messi and Juan Roman Riquelme, the inspiration.
Cote D'Ivoire are first-time finalists and can boast Chelsea striker Didier Drogba while Serbia and Montenegro include star names Atletico Madrid's Mateja Kezman, Dejan Stankovic of Inter Milan, and experienced Osasuna forward Savo Milosevic.
But it's the defence which is hard to crack. Goalkeeper Dragoslav Jevric and captain Mladen Krstajic allowed just one goal to pass them in their 10 qualifying matches.
World Cup records
- World Cup appearances: 13 (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)
- World Cup winners: 2 (1978, 1986); Runners-up 2 (1930, 1990)
FIFA world ranking: 4
- World Cup appearances: 0
- African Nations Cup winners: 1 (1992)
FIFA world ranking: 41
- World Cup appearances: 7 (1930, 1950, 1958, 1962, 1974, 1990, 1998)
- World Cup best: Semi-finals (1930)
FIFA world ranking: 47
- World Cup appearances: 7 (1934, 1938, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1994, 1998)
- World Cup best: Runners-up (1974, 1978)
FIFA world ranking: 3

corrections galore!

the stupid diagram i printed from fifaworldcup site is messy:

i just realized: Argentina would have to play Brazil in semifinal if both do not win their groups...

ergo: all i wrote is correct up to the semifinal.. to get to semifinal argentina will have to fight it out with teams from group A B C and D.. once you hit the semis though you meet a team from groups E F G H

i think....

gosh this is a mess..

if argentina wins group c and germany wins group a: meet in quarterfinals
if argentina wins group c and germany is runner up in group a: meet in finals
if argentina finishes runner up in group c and germany wins group a: meet in final
if argentina finishes runner up in group c and germany is runner up in group a: meet in quarters

so i guess i was off .. oh well...

lets do some more:

if argentina wins group c and england wins group b: meet in finals
if argentina wins group c and england runner up in group b: potential meet in quarters
if argentina runner up in group c and england wins group b: potential meet in quarters
if argentian runner up in group c and england runner up in group b: meet in finals

if argentina wins group c and holland is runner up in group c: meet in finals for second game!
if argentina runner up in group c and holland is winner in group c: meet in finals for second time

argentina could face italy/france/brazil in semifinal

one more thing

it is important to emphasize that argentina got lucky in one respect: it will have to play holland last.. so if it wins its first two matches it should be through.... its hard to believe that argentina is not more than ivory coast or serbia... but things can happen and a draw in either of these games could prove fatal

one other thing: argentina national coach was the only coach from a world cup qualifier not to attend the draw.... argentina soccer federation chief grondona is incensed about the whole thing.... will pekerman be the argentina head coach at the world cup? all is apparently not peachy...

the argentine media reaction: "Argentina once again got the toughest group"... i think it may just be the toughest group but i see no reason to panic... holland is ranked number 3 in the lame-o FIFA rankings.. argentina is ranked number 4.. its tough to argue that getting holland in your group makes it a challenge...

World Cup Draw breakdown

What was I saying out loud over and over again as the third member of Group C , Argentina's Group, was to be selected? "Not Holland Not Holland!"

Holland it is!

First lets look at the bright side.... The Holland vs. Argentina match is the marquee match of the Group Phase this World Cup. It will be the final game for both teams which means it is highly likely the game will determine the Group outcome... Argentina must defeat both Ivory Coast and Serbia with a reasonably good goal differential and come into that match with 6 points.. anything less is suicide....

Is Group C the group of death again as it was in 2002 when it was made up Argentina, England, Sweden and Nigeria? I do not know enough about Ivory Coast or Serbia to really say but I will say that I did not want either team in my group! From Pot 2 I prefer Ivory Coast to Australia which I believe was the most difficult team but I would have wishes for anyone else (ghana, togo, angola or tunisia)... Why , because Ivory Coast has a phenomenal striker named Drogba who is keeping our main striker, Crespo, on the bench at Chelsea! I'm not too sure about the rest of the team.... As for Serbia I know they are ranked like 48 or something in the Fifa world rankings so I do not think it fair to fear them.... However, I would probably have prefered many of the teams from Pot 4 ....

Group B I think will be a tough one.... England will have to fight Sweden and Paraguay and if I'm not mistaken some of the players on Trinidad and Tobago play in the premier league so they might not be a walk in the park..

Germany in Group A: is it a coincidence they got one of the easiest groups... i doubt it... Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador?? Thats a gimme...

Group D: Mexico, Iran , Portugal and Angola....... I have to say this group is not too tough either...

(paragraph removed: for possibilities of argentina meeting brazil germany or holland see above)

and England... what to say about our other perennial pain in the you know what?! We avoided themin the group phase but once again they are on our side of the was the case in 1986, 1998 and 2002...If they finish second in the group they will almost surely have to play Germany in the round of 16! and then Argentina or Holland in the quarters

So Argentina is in the fun part of the draw... we have Argentina, Holland, England and hosts Germany as leading candidates...

How did my other country do? The United States! I have to say the US had very bad luck getting Italy and the Czechs.. both these nations are tough tough... As usual Brazil got a fairly easy ride.. and being in the bottom half the way is easierfor them to the semi-finals than the better teams in the top half of the draw....

My initial group assesment on difficulty on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 10 (most difficult)

A 1
B 7
C 8
D 5
E 7
F 4
G 3
H 3

Top half of draw: 21
Bottom half of draw: 17

these are my initial thoughts.. more to follow...

formatting issue solved

phew..dodged that bullet..

unbelievably the problem stemmed from a link that was so long it "pushed" the blog down to where there was more width (after sidebar) if that makes any sense..

world cup related web site

check out Dresdner Ball Street... a "game" run by Dresdner Bank.. basically you buy stock in different world cup participants .. people's purchases determine which stock has the most value.. the point of the game is to predict the world cup winner... not sure what the ultimate prize is but i think somethink like 100,000 german marks is to be divided.... in any case what i like about the site is that it tells you instantly who the favorites are... we see brazil barely in first followed by germany.. (116 to 115) with argentina coming in at 101.....i suppose you could buy and sell...

this problem with my blog's formatting is driving me batty...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

whats gone wrong with the formatting here?

i have no clue! i have done nothing! oh me o my

Now Playing: Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas LP on Decca 8128 (original black label)..the best selling collection of christmas music ever.. isn't it nice when quality and popularity go hand in hand? (think beatles).. this was released 50 christmases ago in 1955...much of this material had been previously released on 10 inch LPs and 78s.. I may even have a 10 inch LP with the identical cover (Decca DL 5019)... To me this may just be the greatest LP of Christmas music ever..

For some reason Bing Crosby's singing which can seem at times a bit homespun or hokum to those of us that grew up more on steady of diet of Frank, who replaced him as the popular favorite in the 1950s, after Bing dominated the previous two decades as the most popular singer entertainer of his time, well for some reason this traditional- to call it something- singing seems to me perfectly suited for Christmas... And there can be no dispute that Bing's version of "White Christmas" is still the undisputed Champion....

ps actually DL 5019 has a different cover.....
ps2 the link here to the site having all the info to merry christmas from bing has been deleted.. it was so long it messed up the formatting

Sven-Goran Eriksson feels the exact same as I do!

The England coach has selected three teams as making up his nightmare group and they are the same three that make up my Argentina nightmare group! Vindication!

LISBON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Sven-Goran Eriksson says England will have no fear of Brazil or Argentina at next year's World Cup but he does want to avoid Australia in Friday's draw.
Though he believes a seeded England are better-equipped to face the world's elite in 2006 than they were in 2002, Eriksson is bracing himself for a tricky draw in Leipzig.
"Holland, Australia and the United States would be the worst for us," the England coach told reporters.
"On paper, Holland are the best non-seeded team. Marco Van Basten is building a new team and has been very successful with it."

Torture and Terror(ism)

For some time I've been wanting to write a few words on the subject of torture.

I am apalled when I listen to callers on C-Span, NPR or what have you, or worse to talking heads and pundits justify torture (Krauthammer I'm talking to you!) in the following terms: if you knew someone had information on a terrorist attack that would kills thousands don't you think it would be justified to utilize torture to find out this information in order to save thousands?

First of all, often times the CIA or whatever government agency is participating may kidnap someone and torture them THINKING they are someone they are not! Since the person who is kidnapped has no legal recourse heck can't even contact his family there is simply no way for the person to defend himself from the charge that he is a terrorist.... this sets up a situation where a person can be kidnapped, denied all civil rights, be tortured even if the person is innocent! isn't this precisely what terrorists did on september 11: attack innocent people? state terrorism is still 100% terrorism!

Americans appear to believe torturing other Americans is a good idea.. how would these same Americans who call in to C-Span feel if they were kidnapped, stripped, drugged and tortured with no legal recourse?

In the mid 1970s the Argentine state apparatus decided to wage a "dirty war" against what it determined where terrorists trying to undermine the state... it kidnapped and tortured and killed thousands in the name of winning this dirty war.. often times people simply dissapeared and no one ever hear of them again.. i am reminded of a story my Uncle Mario told me once about how someone in his chess club had suddenly stopped coming..simply dissapeared....the argentine government utilized state terror against suspected terrorists or in some cases people not even suspected who may have for example been in the phone book some revolutionary carried with them.... In the early 1980s it emerged that over 10,000 people had been killed by the government: organized State terrorism (torture) it was argued was necessary to combat terrorists....

Now fast forward to the current US and we see largely the same thing.. sure the magnitude may be different but isn't the fundamental principle being violated the same? cases are emerging of people who were 100% innocent and where kidnapped and tortured.... this is an outrage and i am bitterly dissapointed in the American people who seem to be swallowing lock stock and key the fallacious argument that 1) the government knows who the terrorists are and 2) torture is helping save thousands of lives....not to mention the idea that 10 lives are worth more than 1.. this is inadmissible in ethics.. each life is precious.. precious is precious.... killing one person to save 1 is unacceptable as is killing 1 person to save 500 as is killing 1 person to save new york city... 1 life is 100% precious.. this is a basic principle of ethics that goes back thousands of years.... the same applies to torture..

Shame on the US government for this practice of torture- which of course Bush denies all the while we have conclusive proof it is happening!- and shame on us for buying the tall tales the government feeds us.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Recent history of Argentina's world cup draws

what i could not remember which is not much is taken from great site
i've awarded a measure to each draw based on what, albeit in retrospect, in consider the "toughness" of each draw.... 2002 will always be the toughest draw i think while 1998 the easiest.... in 1998 Argentina played two very weak teams in the first round: Japan and Jamaica.. thats unusual...... in 2002 Argentina played two very tough teams: England and Sweden & another team everyone thought was very tough but in retrospect turned out to be a paper tiger: Nigeria.. when Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 in its opening match, believing Nigeria to be a very tough team, Argentines felt they were on the right track.. you could almost have predicted Argentina would fail to make second round simply by observing Nigeria's subsequent pitiful displays against England and Sweden..

2002 (difficulty index: 8.5)

1998 (difficulty index: 1)

1994 (difficulty index: 5)

1990 (difficulty index: 7.5)
Soviet Union

1986 (difficulty index: 6.5)
South Korea

Argentina's 2006 World Cup Draw?

Now knowing the different pots I can deduce Argentina group possibilities:

2. Angola or Ivory Coast or Ghana or Togo or Tunisia or Australia
3. Croatia or Czech Republic or Holland or Poland or Portugal or Sweden or Switzerland or Ukraine
4. Iran or Japan or Saudi Arabia or South Korea or Costa Rica or US or Trinidad and Tobago

or an alternative possibility and it is unclear if this would come in pot 2 or 3 or 4: Serbia Montenegro which will go to a group headed by Argentina/Mexico or Brazil

so because of the alternative possibility I am a bit confused otherwise I would say that Argentina has a 5/6 chance of having a group with an African nation and only 1/6 of having a group with Australia

it has a 100% chance of having a nation from Europe

it has a 33% chance of having two nations from Europe

a worse case scenario (akin to 2002's group of death : argentina, nigeria, england, sweden)?



best case? maybe:

trinidad and tobago

you can bet coaches all over the world are making these calculations and assessing their chances.. the draw i think can have a big impact on what happens....

World Cup Draw coming up! Pots have been set

from the dark overlord FIFA:

LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) -- Pots for Friday's World Cup draw. Teams can't beplaced into a group with a team from the same confederation, except for Europe,which can have up to two teams in a group):

Pot One (seeded teams)-- Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy,Mexico, Spain

Pot Two-- Angola, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Tunisia (Africa); Ecuador,Paraguay (South America); Australia (Oceania)

Pot Three-- Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden,Switzerland, Ukraine (Europe)

Pot Four-- Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia South Korea (Asia); Costa Rica, UnitedStates, Trinidad and Tobago (North and Central America and Caribbean)

Special Pot-- Serbia-Montenegro (will be placed in group with Argentina,Brazil or Mexico)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Two tickets to paradise, I thought (continued from below)..when I saw the Jamaican come up on stage and start doing the jamaican thing I winced cause I thought "Don't tell me Dorfmeister is going to pull a Thievery Corporation" (Thievery will play a live set of about 45 minutes before letting a coupla of rastas take over and start doing their dancehall reggae thing which I'm very ambivalent about).... ALthough Dorf or the Doctor as he is known kept control of the show but the tempo kept jacking up and the bass kept going up until you were literally being hit by waves of bass vibration... the show devolved into drum and bass with the rasta guy.. by the time we left I was unhappy as the rasta was singing a reggae version of staying alive and yelling to the crowd "WASHINGTON DC ARE YOU ALIVE? SHOW ME YOU ARE A-LIIIIIIIIIVE!!"........I wondered as I left what had happened to the down tempo Tosca as I was there to hear? I realize down tempo is dependent on the sly and robbie and jamaican dub for its foundation but to me its so much more and this show which started out splendidly lost the thread and turned into a typical dance DJ fest.... towards the end I could see Huber ambling around the club with a drink in his hand -anonymous to the crowd most of whom had arrived after his organ play and many of whom had left already- and I began to have fond memories of his set and could not help but wonder why he was not up there... ultimately, on this evening, the Tosca duo never did actually perform together...and i would have gladly settled for the sounds of Suzuki blaring over the speaker system, with the light show, and Huber and Dorfmeister throwing the crowd the ocasional bone (ie, a smile, a flip through the cd binder, a few random notes tinkled on the organ, etc.)..

Last night's gig: TOSCA! mixed feelings on this.. background: Dorfmeister and his former sparrring mate Kruder may be the two most influential artists of the 1990s in developing the downtempo genre which became omnipresent by the early 00s....I've always enjoyed Tosca - Dorfmeister's partnership with Huber- the most.. particularly the "Suzuki" album which was eons ahead of the pack... the most important thing about these Austrian freaks is they sorta created or updated the Jamaican dub scene marrying those heavy bass beats with almost ambient (Wyatt's piano on Eno's late 70s ambient pioneering work Music for Airports is a touchstone to my ears) piano and modern drum loops... in any case Tosca's sound really did take over the world as I learned in 2003 on a trip to Maputo, Mozambique all places where their work Dehli 9 was playing in a small restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean....So I had a lot of expectations going in to last nights show.. i mean A LOT! particularly as these guys never come to America and seem to avoid it like the plague.. at the same time their latest release J.A.C. seemed for the first time to indicate a lack of fresh ideas and for the first time I thought the sound- largely coopted and absorbed by the environment- seemed a bit of a retread.. Action cut to last night.....the set started with Huber playing the keys in a manner reminiscent of some serious german composer a la Wanger.....he played seemingly synchronized to the light show... he played for about 25 minutes slowly building up and up.... at the time i felt rather bored although towards the end the tempo picked up.... and there was something special about hearing something bordering on classical music at the 930 club....the crowd by the way was the international DC crowd... different languages and accents flew all around me throughout the evening.... then Dorfmeister made his entrance to wild raptures... he looked the european sophisticate part even sporting a scarf as he made his way to the turntables/dj set up on the middle of the stage.. he started with a classic Tosca song I think was from susuki and i loved it .. the first few songs seeemed like classic tosca tunes (huber left the stage by the way as dorfmeister entered) and i dug it....the tempo started to ease up... the guy who sings on wonderful (zinger i guess) came out and sang a song yelling the typical "WASHINGTON DC!!!!"s....I loved the first hour of things although Dorfmeister kept increasing the tempo and eventually left the down tempo behind or any pretense of it.. he was always true to the heavy bass...eventually some jamaican singer came out and i thought

Thursday, December 01, 2005

This LP, "The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster", was released on Norgran MG N-1001 which makes it the second 12 inch LP released on that label... its my new favorite record since yesterday....I paid $1 for this gem.. its a bit beat up and has one skip towards the end of side 2 but I'll take it....I have not listened much to Ben Webster other than him playing on some 1950s Billie Holiday tracks.....According to the LP liner notes penned by Norman Granz himself "Countless sides by Ellington's band carry his stamp of identification.." and "This, to the best of my knowledge, is the first long playing album which features Ben both as the leader of the combination and as its feature soloist." My favorite track on this is the Ellington classic "Don't get around much anymore" which might as always be my theme song as I've been fighting a bad cold...and heck who am I kidding I have not been getting out as much lately.. why would i when i got these great jazz records? Ben who I am not familiar with is particularly striking- read smooth- on the slower ballads....

let the Verve empire begin... this is Stan Getz's "Interpretations by the Stan Getz Quintet #2" on Norgran Records MG N-1008.... "Interpretations by the Stan Getz Quintet" #1 was the first 12 " LP on Norgran, I believe and carried the catalog number MG N-1000..... This is classic Getz! My copy apparently was once owned by DC radio station WOOK one of the first DC black radio stations.. nice to see that either 1) Norgran got black radio stations samples or 2) WOOK was colorblind enough to give Getz a listen.... The cover speaks for itself and is one of the first I suppose in a long line of "cool jazz smokers" covers...

momentous record collecting decision!

i've decided to stop chasing the blue note lps.. its come a bit out of control.... when you're buying lps you don't even like all that much just cause they are on blue note.... the early lps are just too expensive and hard to come by.. the competition is too fierce... this decision was precipitated by coming into a few norgran/clef/verve's which are really tight... i think i'll focus on norman granz's empire for a bit.... some of the cover art on those labels - particularly the early grey and white photos and the davis stone martin lp covers rivals the great reid/miles work albeit in a different subtler manner...don't get me wrong i'd love to get a mobley "soul station" but its just too frustrating to keep following them on ebay.... change is good.. change is growth.. right? this all has somewhat to do with me wanting to listen more to 50s jazz than mid 60s jazz which are the blue notes that are affordable (4200 and up).. also i want to listen to some different be honest though from a chronological standpoint most of the Norgran Records Catalog and Clef Records Catalog (Norman Granz's two record labels before Verve which of course re-released a lot of this stuff in editions that are highly collectible too) is pre mid-1956 which if you were to compare to Blue Note is about Blue Note 1530 or so... basically Norgran/Clef's body of work precedes Blue Note's... you're going to a body of work that is more bebop/hot and less cool jazz... at least thats the way this simpleton understands it...

Argentina's Obelisco Monument in Buenos Aires observes World AIDS Day with a giant condom on it!

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