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Showing posts from 2011

Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of the Year

Ultra-hipster music site Pitchfork has unleashed their Top 50 Albums of the Year. If you're looking to update yourself on modern-day indie music, this is a hell of a place to start.

This list has a few of my own favorite 2011 albums on it, such as Iceage's New Brigade, Cut Copy's Zonoscope, and Frank Ocean's Nostalgia Ultra. But the list also includes a few albums, like Bon Iver's Bon Iver, about which I simply can't understand the hype. I found Bon Iver completely un-exciting in any way shape or form. To me he's one of those artists who has simply caught the wave of Hipster Sanctity and can do no wrong at this point. Or else, it's a really great album and I just don't get it. I'm guessing the answer lies somewhere in between, but I'm mystified that it's made the Top Album of the Year. Mystified.

Anyway...give it a look, get a few of the albums. If I had any recommendations, check out the above mentioned artists, but also: Real Estate, tU…

Black Lips' First Album: Black Lips!

So I'm going back through the Black Lips' catalogue...I've got this year's Arabia Mountain & Good Bad Not Evil (2009?), but I decided to start at the beginning with their self-titled debut from 2003. Two words: love it.

It's retro surf/garage rock at its best: simple, repetitive, loud, fun, stupid. Kind of reminds me a little bit of the vibe that local Indianapolis bands The Kemps and Vacation Club are going for. They even get a little psychedelic occasionally, which of course is great. I have absolutely zero problem with bands who play simple, choppy, fast riffs and who like to get weird. Its bands like this that Rock and Roll was built on.

We must never get so geeky or opinionated that we can't appreciate a good garage band who just likes to rock and whose music has the power to make people move and--occasionally--make their heads hurt.

Rule No. 1 of Working From Home: Get Dressed

Rule No.1 for any work-from-homer: Get Dressed.

This may run counter to what is, perhaps, the greatest perceived benefit of working from home: that you get to sit around all day in your jogging pants or pajamas, and don't have to dress up. Well, I'm here to burst that myth for you. Why? Read on...

While it's fun and comfortable to wear your pajamas all day, it's actually counter-productive to your cause. If you're sitting around in your baggy, cereal-milk-stained sweatsuit you're inherently going to feel like a slob and you aren't going to be doing your best work. While you might think you can still interface with the harsh outside world while you wallow in comfort, eventually you'll realize your relaxed sartorial standards are dragging you down in the performance department. When you look professional, you'll feel professional, and you'll act professional. That's it. Period.

I'm not saying you have to wear a business suit as you traipse ar…

Night of the Motorcycle Zombie

In case The Walking Dead hasn't satisfied your craving for zombie stuff, check out Night of the Motorcycle Zombie, a new novella by famed horror-humor author Thomas Katz.

It's currently available for sale on Kindle right here. Katz claims he will soon be releasing it on other formats as well, but we'll see. He's notoriously lazy when it comes to these types of things.

Meantime, download that Kindle app, buy a Kindle, or E-mail him at motorcyclezombie@gmail.com and if you're lucky he'll let you get a look at a preview!!!

"Drive" Soundtrack is Awesome, Naturally

I've already raved about the film 'Drive' that hit theaters last month, and I think I mentioned that the soundtrack was done by Kraftwerk. That statement was patently false. The soundtrack was influenced by Kraftwerk, but much of it was actually done by former Red Hot Chili Pepper's drummer Cliff Martinez.
But...the soundtrack is still really hot, and you should check it out. Unless, of course, you absolutely hate that kind of thumping, 'driving,' electronic music. It's not dance music tho, don't misunderstand, just stripped-down, simple electronica. If you know anything about Kraftwerk you'll get the picture.
So, see the film or get the soundtrack...or both!

The Latest: Music, Books, and...a Recipe

And a picture of a rooster...

So it's once again been a while. My own personal Bloggo has been getting short-shrift as I've been busy covering concerts for Indy's NUVO.net (yes, that is a humble brag). It's been a total blast, but occasionally time and my lack of time-management skills get the better of me and I neglect my own personal work. Which is what this is all about anyway, right?
So now, on a nice fall evening, it's time to put on some music (Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation) and deliver the goods to my readers. How about this:
Music Recommendation:
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks latest album Mirror Traffic. Saw these guys the other night at Earth House. Whether or not you were into Malkmus in the Pavement days--and god knows they passed me by--check out this album. Some extremely elegant guitar work and poetic, fun lyrics by Malkmus make this a contemporary classic and a very accessible album. Also a good gateway into Malkmus' extensive musical past.
Boo…

TV Ghost at Cataracts last weekend...

Due to that nagging, unshakable curse known as a “full-time job,” I was only able to catch the very last band at Cataracts Music Festival in Fountain Square last Saturday. But it was well-worth driving cluelessly around Fountain Square for twenty minutes to see TV Ghost play a killer set.Walking down Morris St. in the dark, old Speckman and I followed the sound of symbols and electric bass to the back of a white, two-story house, where Lafayette-based TV Ghost were already playing to about 100 rapt fans in various states of intoxication, some of them jostling and moshing in front of the deck. Fronted by lead singer and guitarist Tim Gick, TV Ghost play what can best be described as psychedelic horror punk. There’s no better way to put it than that. Even applying the word “punk” to them seems like a cop-out, for they defy categorization. My main memory of these guys will always be the psychotic, zombie look in Gick’s eyes as he jerked his mane of curly hair—stuck up like a rooster’s co…

Movie Review: Drive

Drive may be one of the best action movies of the year, and of the past ten years. Seriously. It's that good.
I don't even know where to begin. It's 3:00 a.m. and I'm at a loss for words. It's shot in this really cool, 80s noir style with lots of long, slow camera shots, thumping techno music, sparse dialogue, great chase scenes, and a cool, steady-handed hero...
The main character, The Driver, is played pitch-perfect by Ryan Gosling. He is a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver when he needs extra money. Right from there, you ought to be able to spot this as a killer film...
The plot is also perfect: The Driver takes a job to help someone out, but it ends up backfiring as he gets involved in a setup and must exact his revenge before he's hunted down and killed himself.
Okay...great character, great plot....are you with me so far?
On top of that you've got some incredible cinematography, some great, pulsing, electronic music in the score,…

Punk Night at the Melody Inn

Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn is always a reliable source of laughter, tears, cheap beer, and face-meltingly loud PUNK ROCK.
Check out my review on NUVO.net!!! http://bit.ly/p5p00a
And here's my favorite paragraph from said review:
Before them were the foursome Squared Away, whose testosterone-heavy swagger (and one awesome moustache) makes them seem like a pack of unruly British sailors from the early 1800s. You can just see chaps like these falling victim to a press gang in some rural Irish town in a bygone era, and then being forced to spend the rest of their lives at sea: loud, drunk, and slightly pissed off, but not so much that they don’t forget to enjoy themselves. They played a few of their own songs and a few great covers, totally grunging-up Steve Earle’s “Devil’s Right Hand.”

Dulce de Leche...or...Now I Remember Why I Gained 20 Pounds in Three Months in Argentina

I recently made a run to the international grocery super-store in Indianapolis, called Saraga. While it's terribly inconvenient, and not terribly cheap, it's really fun to shop there once in a while. It's almost like going on vacation.


First off, the shopping experience itself is wild. It's this huge grocery store with food and products from all over the world, and with people of all different nationalities there. It's like another world, especially in a place as seemingly homogeneous as Indy. Even if you don't buy most of the stuff--or even know what it is--it's just fun to look around. What is that stuff in the big jar with the Japanese writing on it? The stuff that looks like monkey brains? Should I buy this outlandishly expensive yogurt from Turkey that comes in two-liter soda bottles? No...you probably shouldn't. But it's a treat for the eyes.
Secondly, once you actually make some purchases, you get to have food from around the world in your hou…

Q&A: Sleeping Bag's Dave Segedy

Heyo...I'm in the actual print edition of NUVO this week with an Q&A/Preview of the Bloomington-based indie rock band Sleeping Bag. These guys just released a really awesome self-titled album via Joyful Noise Records, and are playing on Friday night at the White Rabbit. Check them out!
And also check out my article in NUVO if you can! The link is below:
http://bit.ly/on4hc2

Songwriters in the Round at the White Rabbit

Hello, hello, hello...life is short, art is long, and I've been busy as all hell.
But here's my latest concert review: http://bit.ly/qQbmD1 This was a really great night of music. Three songwriters from the Indy-Chicago area got together, reviving a tradition that apparently hasn't been in practiced since the mid-2000s around these parts.
Anyway, Richard Edwards of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos was, in my mind, the main event. It was really cool to see him playing a solo, acoustic set.
But check out the rest of the review...you shant be disappointed, unless you absolutely hate music.

Latest Review: The Head and The Heart

As a consolation prize to the cancelled Decemberists show, Seattle-based The Head and The Heart played a solo show at Earth House in downtown Indy. While the performance was energetic and intense, the band seems to be a little too run-of-the-mill Folk-Rock.
Read my full review at NUVO.net:
http://bit.ly/mWTErd

Today's Rant: Wasteful Newspaper Mailers...or...I Thought "Newsprint Costs" Were Driving Newspapers Out of Business?

Back in the middle portion of the last decade, when a lot of newspapers were going out of business, they often cited "newsprint costs" as one reason they couldn't survive or weren't profitable. They claimed it simply cost too much to print the paper and they couldn't afford it, yada-yada-yada.
Well, that doesn't seem to stop local businesses in Indianapolis from sending me enough newspaper mailers every day--EVERY DAY--to choke a wild hog. Every day (okay, four times a week) I come home and find a three-inch thick stack of newspaper mailers clogging my mailbox. Mostly they are grocery store coupons, sometimes they're coupons to local businesses, and what have you. Not only have I never, EVER used one of the coupons, but I've asked my postal workers to stop giving them to me, and they still leave them at my door.
FURTHERMORE, the damned things are so big and unwieldy that sometimes my actual mail gets lost inside them and I end up being late on my bill…

Netflix, you have made me very angry...

In yet another sign of our money-grubbing times, my beloved Netflix has decided to raise it's prices. Or, well, they've thinly disguised the price increase as a "split" of their services, offering unlimited streaming for $7.99 and unlimited DVDs for $7.99 instead of having them combined for $9.99.
Frankly, I'm pissed off. Okay, fine...they're a business, they have to make money. I understand. And I also understand what a great deal it is already...however, that still doesn't make it any easier to bear.
Not sure what I'm gonna do. Is anyone else gonna cancel their subscription?

Bill Callahan at the White Rabbit

Check out my latest review in NUVO.net http://bit.ly/qw1Psd
I went into the show with my typical, stone-headed bias against singer-songwriter type performers, but Callahan is different. He reminds me of a cowboy out on the range, singing songs to whoever happens to be around the campfire to listen...or to no one. In fact, that's kind of what makes his lyrics so great: they are poems that seem sprung from his own lonely, yet hopeful soul. He's not trying to impress anyone, he's not trying to sound smart, he's expressing himself and he doesn't give a damn who likes it....and it works.
So check out my review and also give a listen if you can!

Movie Review: Midnight in Paris

I recently saw the latest Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris. I have to say it was better and more engaging than any of what I'd refer to as the later Woody Allen films (those from the past ten years or so), other than Melinda and Melinda, which I really dug. In the words of a good friend of mine, "It made me smile."
As far as the film's moral scope, its statement on life, I'd have to refer to the main character Gil's (Owen Wilson's) own words in the film: "I'm having an insight. It's not that big of an insight, but it's an insight none the less" [sic].
This film partly takes place during one of my favorite periods of history: Paris in the 1920s. In the film, Gil runs into the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, T.S. Elliot, and others. These characters don't serve any real function in the plot, except to show Gil that even back in the "idyllic" age of the 1920s, people still had problems and even longed for …

Two Nights of Punk

It was a crazy weekend. I'm still not recovered, and it's Wednesday. And no, I'm not talking about my liver...I hardly drank at all. I'm talking about my ear-drums...


To make a long story short: I've had two new reviews published in NUVO:

http://bit.ly/ixgSNc AND http://bit.ly/k9gRdO

To make a short story long: Thursday I hit the Vollrath, down in south Indy, for a night of Punk/Garage music featuring some local bands, and two from Chicago. Then on Saturday night I hit Indy's infamous Punk Rock Night down at the Melody Inn. Both shows were...well...loud. Beyond that, I'm out of creative descriptors for Punk music. What can I say? I like Punk and Garage and anything similar. For me, it's immediate: I don't have to think about it. I spend so much time in my life thinking and pondering and analyzing, that when it comes to music I like to (wait for it) have my face burned off, plain and simple. Granted, I will go in for the soulful, folky, singer-songwrit…

The Pistol Poets, by Victor Gischler

For the past two months I've been in this sort of post graduate-school ADD phase. I can't even read the entire back of a cereal box without getting a headache. Seriously...I start reading a book, get to page 3, and put it down.
Until, that is, I picked up The Pistol Poets, by Victor Gischler. I've read 60 pages in two days. For me, that's a miracle. Kind of like a smoker going an entire day without a cigarette. And unless Gischler does something in the next 200 pages to really bore me or piss me off, I think I've found my new favorite author.
I won't get overly detailed with my description of his stuff (I'm already losing interest in this blog post...what's on TV?), but suffice it to say, he writes in a funny, sarcastic, easy-going style that isn't too self-consciously funny or sarcastic. This particular book is also about academia, and features complete low-life, bottom-dwellers as its main characters. And let's face it, who likes to read about t…

Concert Review in NUVO: Band of Horses

After a brief hiatus, in which I did nothing of any lasting literary or artistic value...I've reviewed another concert for Indianapolis' NUVO magazine. This one is about a really cool alt-rock band called Band of Horses. They played a "secret show" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Saturday night and totally rocked the crowd...small and select as it was.
Anyway...check it out if you've got a minute. You won't be disappointed, I swear.
http://bit.ly/jcSMIf

My Top Four Favorite Books

Why four you may ask? Well, that has to do with my rather stringent qualifications for what qualifies as a "favorite" book. The criteria are quite simple: it has to be a book that I can read over and over again without ever getting fed up. It has to be one of those books which every time I read it feels like the first time.
Having said that, I have only four favorite books. There are lots of books I'd love to claim are my favorite books, titles such as Ulysses, Moby Dick, War and Peace, 100 Years of Solitude, The Great Gatsby, etc., etc., etc., but I would just be lying to you and to myself. In truth, those books bore the crap out of me. And while I may just have eliminated the chance that I'll ever get accepted into a PhD program, I'd rather just be honest with myself and read what makes me want to turn the pages endlessly.
So without further ado...my Top Four Favorite Books:
1.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson
Without a doubt, my favorite boo…

Cake at the Murat Theatre: A quality performance of Rock and Roll Music

A quality performance of Rock and Roll Music...but lacking in energy and balls.
I never got into Cake very heavily in the 90s, but I definitely remember them being around. They were one of those bands you couldn't avoid for a minute or two there. All that is to say: I've heard of 'em, I like a few of their songs, but I wouldn't shell out my hard earned scratch to watch them play. Which is precisely why, when my friend offered me her spare ticket for free, I gladly took it and went to the show.
Cake pretty much packed the Egyptian room of the Murat Theatre here in Indy, with what I'd say was about 2500 or so half-stoned, somewhat interested Cake fans. The most interested ones seemed to be way up close to the stage--naturally--where puffs of weed smoke could be seen wafting occasionally. Toward the middle and rear of the crowd, where I was, it seemed like most people came for the same reason I did: "Hey, it's Cake. Why not?"
I have to say they put on a …

Album Review: Tyler the Creator's Goblin

Tyler the Creator has been getting a lot of hype lately, along with the whole Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All crew. In case you don't know, OFWGKTA is a hip-hop collective based in L.A., in which the average age is probably like 19. Tyler himself is only 19 or 20.
But if these guys are short on years, they're long on talent and originality. Between Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, and Earl Sweatshirt, I think its safe to say we're looking at the future of hip-hop...a certain type of hip-hop, that is. What type? Well, let's just say--at least in Tyler's case--this is not dance club hip-hop. The emphasis--at least for now--seems to be on the darkness and psychological twistedness of the lyrics. The beats are hard, rough, and basic, and as a result, few of the tracks have those kind of stick-in-your-head hooks that Top of the Charts hip-hop and R&B is known for. You will NOT be hearing any of these songs on the Top 40. However, if you listen closely, you'll …

Latest Concert Review: Jonathan Richman

Check out my latest review in NUVO! http://bit.ly/l1g8gm
Remember the singing narrator from "There's Something About Mary"? Well, he actually has a name -- Jonathan Richman -- and a discography going back to the early 70s when he founded the proto-punk group The Modern Lovers.
Nowadays, his live show resembles nothing of his Modern Lovers days, and he comes off more as a really polished street busker. But his songwriting is funny and engaging, and his lyrics will teach you a few things about life if you're willing to listen.
Check it out! Give me some clickage!

House Show: Amo Joy, Son Drop, Christian Taylor

Hot damn...it's been a few days (four?) since I last posted. This is partly due to a wicked head-cold that's been creeping up on me for about a week and finally bit me in the ass. And of course, Friday night's misadventures didn't help delay the onset of this malady...but I did have an awesome time.
A few friends and I headed to a big ol' brick house on College Ave. in Midtown to catch a few local bands and one from Kalamazoo, Mich. The two local groups were Amo Joy and Christian Taylor (founder of Homeschool), and the one from Kalamazoo was Son Drop.
Sometimes I feel like I have a habit of gushing about concerts. But the fact is, when you're there, whooping it up, having a good time, it's really hard to come away with a lot of bad things to say about the music. Especially when you're listening to a line-up of groups that really have their sh*t together and approach the show with the same professionalism they would as a concert of 10,000 people. But se…

From Chicago....Molehill

Just want to give a brief bloggy shout-out to some cool cats I met tonight at Indy's Melody Inn: Chicago-based rockers Molehill.


I talked to these guys after their set tonight at the Melody. Co-founder and frontman Peter Manhart refers to their sound as somewhere between Muse, Maroon 5, and Sublime. I heard a little bit of Coldplay in there, too, thanks to the trippy, sometimes Pink Floyd-like keyboard work of Greg Van Zuiden. Backed up by the hard-core drum and bass work of Devin Staples and Trevor Jones, respectively, these guys seem to cross genres, bordering on punk at times, but seeming to be most comfortable in a bluesy, soulful, almost theatrical zone where they reside for most of their tracks.

Personally, I think these guys seemed to tap into something when they let loose and veered closer to punk, letting Manhart unleash his full lead guitar chops. Granted, I'm a garage/guitar rock kind of guy to begin with, but I'd like to see them let loose a bit more and tap the…

Bad film buffs get a load of this...Watercooler Films

Those of you out there who relish in hilariously campy, kitschy, and just plain awful movies once in a while will get a kick out of Watercooler Films, a film critique sight that posts on YouTube.

This guy highlights a new terrible movie every so often, posting a clip and commentary about the film on YouTube. Blogspot is being a little bitchy today and won't let me paste the actual web address into this post, so just click on the Hyperlink(s) above. If you get to YouTube, just search "watercooler" and it'll pop up.

The latest film he's making fun of is the 1988 computer/robot spec-fiction peice R.O.T.O.R. It's kind of a crummy, low-budget, low-talent remake of Robo Cop. The film not only rips off the premise of Robo Cop, but taps into that weird fear people seemed to have in the late 80s that eventually everything was going to be run by robots. Robots started popping up in rich peoples homes (in the movies) like Rocky IV and Wall Street, robots even started beco…

The Whigs at Radio Radio: Super-badass and beyond

The Whigs played at Radio Radio on Thursday and really kicked ass. To hell with what the critics say, these guys rocked the house. For more info, check out my review in NUVO at: http://bit.ly/lILGsI
I'm a guy weaned on Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and others of that ilk, and so The Whigs, while not exactly Led Zeppelin, appeal to my deep desire to have my face burned off by heavy guitar and bass, and crashing drums. If you like rock and roll, you can't not have a place in your heart for these guys from Georgia. Give 'em a try...

Arcade Fire show at the Pepsi Coliseum

Went to the Arcade Fire show last night at the Fairgrounds. Damn, what a show those guys put on. I'm a relatively late-comer to the AF bandwagon, and really I'm only familiar with their latest album, The Suburbs. Yes, I know the hipsters out there are scoffing at me right now (assuming any of 'em are reading this), but hey...there's only so much a man can keep track of.
Anyway, they played some of my favorite cuts from The Suburbs---Sprawl, We used to wait, and The Suburbs---as well as a few classics from Funeral and some cuts from Neon Bible. As for a more detailed set list, well...you can go get it from somewhere else. I said this blog would be entertaining, not informative or accurate.
The really awesome thing about the show was the general production of the thing. Of course the music was hot, but there were also the lights, the weird black & white found-footage playing on the jumbo-screen above the stage, the occasional throwing of random objects out into the au…

Mentioned in Indy Star...

The Mitch Daniels article from my fashion blog was mentioned in the IndyStar recently. Check out the IndyStar article at:
http://bit.ly/fy0nii
As you'll see, the writer takes me to task for focusing on Daniels' style and not substance, however...a.) It is a "Style" Blog, after all, and b.) she takes me a little out of context. If you read the article closely, I actually commend Daniels for already being one of the better dressed politicians out there.
But hey, in the article she refers to me as a "pundit," which is a step up from "blogger," and as my sister says...you're nobody until someone attacks you in print.

The Rural Alberta Advantage

Today I put the spotlight on The Rural Alberta Advantage, a group I just became hip to recently and just saw over the weekend here in Indy at Radio Radio. The trio hails from Alberta, Canada, and is led by Nils Edenloff at the acoustic, with a keyboard/keybass player and a drummer. Simple, stripped-down, effective.
The best way I can describe their sound is to say that it's bass drum-driven, acoustic/electro folk. Edenloff sounds kind of like the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, but minus the grunge sound. The emphasis here is definitely on Edenloff's singing/songwriting, and Paul Banwatt's right foot on the kick-drum. Though keyboardist Amy Cole adds a neat electro-pop sound with her synth work.
Lyrically, their sound comes off a bit Smashing Pumpkins-ish at times: angsty, gritty, looking back to the past with anger and longing. At least two (maybe more) of their songs are about natural disasters that befell Alberta, including "Tornado '87" and "Fra…

Manu Dibango's Africadelic

If you like Fela Kuti, then stop what you're doing and get the album Africadelic, by Manu Dibango. And then...strap yourself in for some mind-blowing 70s Afrobeat/Afrofunk.
Just when I thought no artist could ever rival Fela, I stumble up on this classic album from 1973. If you're used to Fela, you'll find Dibango's stuff has a bit more of a studio quality about it and definitely sounds more Funk than Jazz.
Fela's songs routinely extend into the 10, 20, 30 minute range, taking those typical, Jazz-like diversions and sometimes feeling much more like recorded jam sessions than songs. Dibango's Africadelic, however, is composed of 3 and 4 minute tracks. The songs rely heavily on the horn section, the Disco-like "waka-waka" guitar riffs, and heavy drum-rythms to create a sound that comes straight out of a campy, 1970s action movie or Blacksploitation film. You can almost see two guys in bell-bottoms, elevator shoes, leather jackets, and afros, chasing some…

U.S.' debt rating at risk...

If you're going to pay attention to one story today, this week, this year...you need to be paying attention to this issue. Unlike most of what happens in the news, this could actually affect your life.

We've known this might be coming for a long time. What it essentially means is that if the U.S. doesn't reduce it's deficit spending and start eating away at the $1.5 trillion it owes, then the rating on its bonds will go down, meaning that the government will have to pay more interest to borrow money.

For years...forever, actually...the U.S. has had the best credit rating there is: AAA. Which means that if they borrow money (like when the gov't sells bonds to China), the borrower is virtually gauranteed to get their money back because they can just borrow more money to pay it back. Imagine if you could just keep opening up new Credit Card accounts forever to pay off the debt you've built up...same thing. Unlike for you, however, the cycle can just keep continuing …

I would like to apologize...to Twitter

On February 26, 2009, I wrote a blog post condemning Twitter as the latest unnecessary gimmick for our nation of committed navel-gazers. Well, I would like to apologize.
Frankly, I've always been reluctant to accept technology and I'm not sure why. But over the past few months I've started Tweeting, and I'm becoming a junkie. I'm tired of pretending I'm too smart or sophisticated too participate in something so quick, instantly gratifying, and seemingly masturbatory; I am, actually, not too good for Twitter at all.
This happens to me in life: I'm totally against some concept, idea, place, whatever...and then I actually try it and become hooked. I was also, at one time, totally against the idea of writing programs, but getting an MFA in Creative Writing has been one of the best experiences of my life. The list goes on and on. I think this characteristic shows, simultaneously, my stubbornness and my willingness to change.
So anyway...thanks Twitter, for giving…

Does Mitch Daniels have the fashion-sense to be president?

This ain't about politics...this is about style. Wherever they stand on the political spectrum, politicians aren't known for being especially sharp dressers. However, setting oneself up for success in 2012 might just mean more than slinging the right words around, it might also mean cutting a finer figure in some more contemporary threads.
In this article http://exm.nr/f4P0Q8 I give Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels the what-for where his personal style is concerned. Check it out...

Qaddafi's personal nurse speaks out...

Another great Qaddafi article. Some interesting details about the man and his habits, and an insider's view on the Libyan revolution. Here's an excerpt:

"I got the impression that at least half the population of Libya disliked Papik [Qaddafi]. The local medical staff was jealous of us because we made three times more than they did—over $3,000 a month. It was obvious that Papik made all the decisions in his country. He is like Stalin; he has all the power and all the luxury, all for himself. When I first saw television pictures of the Egyptian revolution I thought, nobody would ever dare to rise against our Papik. But there was a chain reaction after Tunisia and Egypt. If Papik had passed his throne to his son Saif when he still had a chance, I believe that everything would have been all right. People would not be dying right now."

Read the full article at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-04-11/oksana-balinskaya-on-being-libyas-muammar-gaddafis-nurs…

Qaddafi Watch: Sham demonstrations reinforce sad state of Libyan government

Anything Qaddafi-related always grabs my attention cause the guy was basically like the Boogie Man when I was a kid (see post, 8/31/09), and of course everybody remembers how "the Libyans" were the stock 80s movie terrorists (see Back to the Future). So for that reason--and not because I'm a foreign affairs junkie--I've been paying attention to the Libya stories, especially the one in the New York Times today http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/world/africa/11tripoli.html?_r=1&ref=world

The story essentially exposes Qaddafi's sad attempts at staging public relations photo-ops, and shows how he ends up appearing lamer and more desperate than a used car salesman on Fourth of July Weekend. Not only does The Good Colonel decorate hospital beds with fake blood, but he stages "rallies" that, from the photos in the Times, look more like a bunch of students hanging around for a smoke break, likely wondering when they'll get paid for their time.

The front pa…

The Twin Cats: Face-melting funk at the Mousetrap

Local jam-band The Twin Cats were back at the Mousetrap last night (appropriate, no? cats, mousetrap...) and a buddy and I turned up for the show. I've heard of these cats before but never actually managed to catch one of their shows. They play a sort of Jazz-Funk (Funk-Jazz, really) that's heavy on the guitar, features the work of two saxophonists, and verges on Space Funk at times. Somehow the moniker Space Funk seems especially appropriate because the lead horn player sometimes plays an electric wood-wind type instrument reminiscent of what that big blue alien in Star Wars plays at Mos Isley space station. To describe their sound, I use the words of one fellow concert-goer: face-melting funk.

We walked in just as opening band Midwest Hype was wrapping up their set. Midwest Hype is more along the reggae lines...at times they reminded me of a grittier Sublime and I wish I'd caught more of that set. But we got our money's worth with The Twin Cats, barely escaping their…

Music Review: Frank Ocean's solo debut "Nostalgia, Ultra"

In my quest to find new, awesome music, I bring you Frank Ocean's solo mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra. If this is the state of modern day Hip-Hop/R&B, then I'm on board. Ocean is a member of the L.A.-based collective Odd Future Wolfpack, and while I haven't heard any of their stuff, I am pretty familiar with another Odd Future member, Tyler the Creator. Seems like what these guys are all going for is a new strain of R&B less beat-focused and more driven by lyrics that explore the dark corners of the subconscious. I actually just heard a reviewer refer to Ocean and others of his ilk as "PBR&B" or R&B for hipsters...a moniker that somehow seems quite apt.

Overall, Ocean's album is a smooth, well-produced (by him) collection of introspective tracks, mostly dealing with the vagaries of life as a young adult in this world: failed relationships, alienation, and abandonment. He's definitely ordering off the menu from the typical Hip-Hop diet of violenc…

Bulldogs Neutered...A Sad End to an Otherwise Amazing Run

Because I'm a gentleman, let me first say thanks to the Butler men's basketball team for giving their school and this city something to cheer about and making another historic run to the NCAA Championship...but damn...that game was hard to watch. To come all that way, to knock out such powerhouse teams as Pitt, Wisconsin, Florida, and to have it end like it did on Monday night has got to be one of the biggest sports disappointments of this millennium (there's only been 11 years tho).
What went wrong? Well, here are Grant Catton's "Keys of the Game":
1.) 19% shooting percentage. At some point the Bulldogs couldn't buy a basket. The rim just seemed to be repelling their shots. They weren't even hitting layups, for dog's sake. There's no explanation for this other than the fact the ball just wouldn't go in the hole. But when you're making 1 out of 5 shots, you give your opponents a big opening to make something happen. It wasn't even …

The CIA is in Libya...

First off, I already assumed the CIA was there. But now knowing that the CIA is on the ground in Libya fills me with a mixture of relief and apprehension. Relief, because, in my mind, there's nothing the CIA is incapable of doing if they want to. If they want Qaddhafi gone...that dude had better start packing his bags. But apprehension, because what this essentially means is we're going to prop up another government or another wacked-out ruler that we're going to dredge up from god-knows-where, put him in office, arm him, and in five years we'll be bombing his palace. Even in my quarter century or so of cognizant years on this planet, I've already seen it before too many times. Now that the G-Men are there, this whole thing will be over shortly. Just you watch. You'll know the CIA has done it's job when a new little guy pops up as "the people's choice" to take over the new, democratic Libyan state. Qaddhafi, the clock is ticking, sir.

Black Orpheus...or, "City of God" before the hard drugs

I just saw the movie Black Orpheus (1959), a film set in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janiero during carnival, and paralleling the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice from Ovid's Metamorphoses. As 50s films go, it's really not bad in and of itself. It's fun to watch because of the exotic music and setting, and doesn't have that "yawn-when-is-this-going-to-be-over" quality like a lot of films of the period. What's especially cool is that it's a more innocent look at favela life before the advent of hard drugs, which is where the film City of God comes in. If you've seen and liked City of God, you should watch Black Orpheus, just to see what I'm talking about.

Briefly...Black Orpheus is a technicolor re-telling of the legend of Orpheus, a musician and son of the sun god Apollo. Orpheus is legendary for his ability to charm all things--people, animals, even rocks--into obeying his commands. When his wife Eurydice is killed and sent to the underworld,…

Dumpster Diving: Beaten at my own game...

I, like many people who don't have as much money as they'd like to, am somewhat of an amateur dumpster diver. You'll never see me actually go inside a dumpster, mind you, but when I see something nice sitting on the sidewalk with someone's trash, it's mine. Hey, I'm only human.

I used to live in Manhattan, which is a dumpster diver's paradise. There you have all levels of wealth living in close proximity, and you'd be shocked at what people throw away on the street. I've found perfectly good peices of furniture, books, CDs, suitcases, paintings, even electronics equipment just sitting on the sidewalk waiting to be swallowed up by the city...or me. I also lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that has to be one of the most literary neighborhoods in the city. There you will routinely find whole boxes of discarded books on people's stoops. At one point half my book collection came from found merchandise.

All this is to say, I've got no …

From the Vault: Led Zeppelin's In Through The Out Door

Aha! You forgot about In Through The Out Door, didn't you?


This often overlooked Led Zeppelin album is one of my absolute favorites. One summer it was the only tape (yes...I said tape) that I had in my jeep, and so I listened to it no less than five dozen times. When you listen to an album that many times, it becomes part of your brain waves forever. You memorize the changes between the songs so well that, forever after, when you hear one of the individual songs on the radio you expect to hear the next song from the album and it seems almost PREPOSTEROUS that anything else could come next. That's the relationship I have to In Through The Out Door.

This album has some sublime songs on it, like the opener "In the evening," which has that classic, Zeppelin heaviness about it, to the oddball jump-blues sound of "Hot Dog," to the eerie, wending darkness of "Carouselambra." And let's not forget the bittersweet "All of my love," and the fun,…

Rocky Balboa and the Butler Bulldogs

So the Butler Bulldogs once again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in another David vs. Goliath match up. If you're looking for serious basketball commentary, forget it. I'm officially a Fair Weather fan. The first Butler game I watched this year was during the tournament. BUT...that doesn't mean I can't see the glaring parallels between my favorite college basketball team and my favorite fictional character: Rocky Balboa.

The Butler Bulldogs and Rocky Balboa have a lot in common. They're tough, scrappy, and they don't give up. They're always the underdog but somehow, through sheer determination and grit, they come out on top.

I mean, time and time again Rocky Balboa came into the fight expected to be OBLITERATED. I mean, that was the plot of Rocky's I, II, and IV. The only one that broke the trend was Rocky III...in which Rocky made the cardinal sin of forgetting his roots, and therefore got clobbered by Clubber Lang. He only succeeded by getting g…

The Pork Tenderloin Sandwich: An Indiana Classic

One of the joys of living in Indiana (and these are manifold) is the infamous Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. No...I did not say plain old pork tenderloin...which is a short, tubular thing that you roast and slice up--and which is also great--I said pork tenderloin sandwich. It's basically a piece of pork that is pounded until it's razor-thin (sometimes even thinner. I ate one once that was one pork-molecule thick), then breaded, fried, and eaten on a bun.

I used to turn up my nose at these things for some reason, but then I actually stepped off my high horse and tried one. Amazing. I've eaten the pork tenderloin sandwich at at least a half-dozen locations now and it's become one of the simple pleasures of my life.

I need not describe how it tastes: it's a razor-thin peice of breaded pork on a bun. You get the idea. The only thing is, I've NEVER encountered one of these things outside Indiana. In fact, anywhere else I've ever tried to order a pork tenderloin sandw…

Music Review: Cut Copy's new album "Zonoscope"

In one sentence:Take 80s electro-pop dance music and remove the shrink-wrap, rough it up with some stronger beats, spaced-out techno sound-effects, and edgier lyrics and you've got Cut Copy's Zonoscope.

Heyo...just spreading the word about a group I've just gotten hip to: Cut Copy. I just got their latest album Zonoscope (2011), and it's just about the most entertaining thing I've heard in my several months long quest to get updated on modern music.

Before I get to the complex, music-writing mumbo-jumbo about their "sound"...lemme just say, the second song on the album, "Take me over," sounds eerily like Fleetwood Mac's disco-ish "I wanna be with you everwhere," but with a stronger beat and some really nice techno sound effects and more fun lyrics thrown in. This track definitely has that "wait-a-minute-what's-this?" quality about it. It will stop you in your tracks and make you think you've been transported back to…