Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wicked Bad Headache, Sunday Night

Well, I may have made a huge mistake in ordering that gigantic box set of Sly and Family Stone's first 7 albums. To make myself feel better, I ordered The Bear Bryant Funeral Train which got the author into trouble for appropriating some of Carl Carmer's material from the 1930s and using it (a number of passages from it) as a basis for one of the stories. The Amazon page for the book has people accusing Brad Vice of being a fraud, or, if not going that far, saying "it's great if you ignore the plagiarized parts." These people are retarded. If we go by their logic, let's start accussing Shakespeare and Chaucer of plagiarism. Rock and Roll's foundation is plagiarism of a kind. An aural kind, I guess, but a kind nonetheless. Every independent movie director of the past thirty years has just been ripping off the French New Wave, Fellini, and Cassavetes. George W. Bush just a more spiteful and blissfully unaware Reagan. You're likely based off some asshole in a member's only jacket in the '80s. I'm based off every single male main character of every NBC sitcom from 1995-2002. I've also got a little Charlie Sheen. Not the part that gets laid. The other part. And finally, to head off the analogy, Mel Gibson has his foundation in Torquemada's notorious "stump penis," which, oddly, was neither.

Like Slate's David Plotz and the Bible, I was thinking of blogging my way through the collected short stories of John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Updike, Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, and a number of others. I'd do research on them and all kinds of shit. I'll think about it.

I've been trying really hard to break out of this painful shyness that's plagued me since I was little. The biggest breakthrough was letting go of this disdain that marked my college years - shyness, in my experience, many times stems from an baseless sense of superiority. Not in all people, but in numerous Marquette alums with my name. Anyway, I keep tricking myself into thinking things will turn around at once, but it'll happen, if it happens, in small, painfully social increments. I'm kind of hoping to pull a reverse-Lou Reed. When you stop blaming people for their faults and seeing them as people with faults, you see the world a bit more kindly and reserve your judgement for those closest of friends who deserve, nay, call for, scorn (A. Tyler I'm looking at you). I've found even the most obnoxious, stuck up people will be nice to you if you talk to them. That's probably obvious to everyone else. Before, they could tell I didn't care for them, but now, the worst that could happen is they could invite me to hang out and they have a shrine to Tina Weymouth in their basement, which would be weird for me on a number of levels (for instance: if this was not a shrine to Tina Weymouth and was instead a shrine to Kim Gordon, would I have to take mine down?).

And on the wine bar crush-counter, it's been three months and I am now aware of the waitress' name. Didn't find it out from her, though. That's probably negative points, then.

New CDs: Tilly and the Wall (Is the tapdancing a novelty? It hasn't worn off yet), My Latest Novel (there is a very problematic Belle and Sebastian-lite vibe to it, which totally contradicts my previous statements on appropriation), Besnard Lakes. I gave in and ordered A Sunny Day in Glasgow, which, strangely is from Philly. They sounded too much like My Bloody Valentine when I heard their stuff on myspace, but now I guess I'm okay with that. MBV is my fourth favorite band influencer. There should really be an index for that - and this isn't like, the most well-known bands, which would probably be in some order The Beatles, the Stones, the Beach Boys, etc. This list for me reads 1) The Velvet Underground 2) Eno 3) Pixies/Pavement (tie) and 4) MBV (influenced ...Glasgow, Asobi Seksu, etc., etc.). I'll hold off on 5) til I get Love's first two albums and the afore-mentioned Sly Stone box-set.

I just got Roxy Music's first two albums, the ones with Eno, and Jesus Christ, these guys were like the Scissor Sisters with a fabulous '50s vibe. Check out Eno's thinning, pointy-in-the-back hair. Kind of looks like Christopher Guest would in a glam-rock mocumentary.

R.I.P. Josh Hancock. It's a little surreal, given the Darryl Kile thing. Also, classy move by ESPN, breaking this on their sports-ticker. We would not be able to escape updates on this had he played for the BoSox or the Yankees.

Ashby, this is for you: (from the South Bend Tribune) "[Jimmy Clausen] arrived at the Hall in a white stretch Hummer limousine, complete with a police escort."

-Oh, Christ. He'll either get bitchslapped by Charlie Weis and change his tune, get bitchslapped by Charlie Weis and transfer, or I'll end up hating Notre Dame. Frankly, there is no frontrunner at this point.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday Night/Sunday Morning

And I've been drinking, and I'm very disappointed with things. Things are disappointing. They disappoint in a way that only mis-spelled term papers and the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals can disappoint. There are probably other disappointing things I can append to that list, but why belabor them? Herm Edwards workhorsing Larry Johnson. Okay, that's one more. But belabor them more I shan't. I'm watching Slow Century, the Pavement DVD. Literally. They're playing Summer Babe (Winter Version). Not anymore. They just got done. Now they're in a sauna. Anyway. With disappointment in mind, I thought of the most overused songs in movie soundtracks. Here's what I can think of:

Painted Black and Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones

Also overused in teenage suicide letters. Actually, let's focus on Sympathy. Okay, I get it, your main character is the devil/a devil figure. How ironic to use this song. Let's overreach, shall we, and use something less obvious. Might I suggest anything by Fallout Boy. Most people won't get it, you say? Well, that's what makes it work. Oddly, I only think of Mick Jagger and his post-90s stage presence when I think of this song. Lester Bangs is hanging out with Jagger's and Keith Richard's ingenuity in the Elysian fields right now. He says they're boring, but what does he know, he's dead.

Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

Didn't know it was by Cohen, did you? Fuck you. Everyone knows the Jeff Buckley or the John Cale version. If you're retarded, you know the Rufus Wainwright version, which was featured in Shrek 2. At any rate, Buckley's is the most haunting because he died and because he has those angelic vocals. It's a stunning rendition if you can't bring yourself to think of Aaron Sorkin using this in a scene in the West Wing. Aaron, the less Allison Janney I think of when I hear this song, the better. So, preferably none. The more I think of Buckley, dead, in a lake, the more appropriate. The rules of decorum in rock and roll are startlingly different from those in polite society.

All Along The Watchtower by Bob Dylan (Jimi Hendrix Version)

If you have a montage that takes place in the '70s and use this song, you are a tool. So, if you have a movie that has a montage that takes place in the '70s, you're a tool. And a hack. Fuck you, Forrest Gump-sucker. Fun fact: Many people use this for home video wedding video compilations. They are sentimentalists, and retarded.

So that's all I have for that subject. There's more, I just can't think of anything else in my drunken state.

Onto other things. Gawker is a site for twiddling little joiners. So are most sites, I guess, since cults of personality will rule this century, but this site is one of the most flagrant. And I go there often so as to feel as a part of a group.

I can say that I've never been happier to be single, but the reasons for such make me incredibly sad. I'll set up an analogous situation: Say you know Kermit the Frog, and he's married. Not to Miss Piggy, because that's both idealistic and revisionist (I heard they had a falling out in the late 90s). Kermit is the best frogger in the region, and why not, he's a frog, and he's probably friends with Jay Leno. Then he decides to be something that requires that he not be a frog. It's disappointing, no? What will Jay Leno do? Probably rip off Letterman, but he's made his bed by now and he's comfortable with his choices. But what will you do? Accept Kermit the non-frog? Okay, so the analogy is getting out of my grasp at this moment, but you can feel the betrayal, can't you?

Okay, to set up a more believable situation: you know a homeless guy who has a heart of gold, and then he decides to buy a house. Man, that's gotta sting, right? You think you know someone. In this case, a homeless guy. Then he buys a house. The traitorous bastard.

Your problems are so oblique. Why do you gotta be like that?

Monday, April 02, 2007


I'm listening to a podcast of Sound Opinions from last summer about the ideal summer songs. It seems at the beginning of every season, or at least at the onset of autumn and spring, I try to make a mental inventory of songs that evoke the aura of the season, of driving through leaf-strewn streets in fall, etc.

Anyway, I always get bored after considering two albums. I find that my memories of seasons, or the way I tie music in with seasons, is connected with when bands tend to release their music. Wilco's last two albums came out during the summer, the tortuous route of Yankee Hotel leaves it without a definitive release date, but I first heard it the summer after it was properly released, and A.M., Being There, and Summerteeth are summer albums regardless of when they were released.

Stephen Malkmus has released all of his solo albums during the springtime and into the summer, and his music, though off-kilter, has an anthemic vibe to it.

Ted Leo's Hearts of Oak is a summer album. See, that's the problem, I reconcile seasons with albums.

Andrew Bird's Mysterious Production of Eggs and Armchair Apocrypha both came out in the spring time. I guess I should look up release dates to make sure, but in Colbertian speak, I FEEL like this all happened at the same time.

Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate and Songs of Leonard Cohen are winter albums. I listen to "Avalanche" under five blankets, suffering from seasonal-onset depression.

"Break Up the Family" by Morrissey is a late-winter/early-spring song. I envision driving through Edwardsville, which all-in-all is a lovely little town, on a sixty-degree late-winter day when all of the snow is melting.

"In the Devil's Territory" by Sufjan Stevens is a quintessential autumn song. I can't listen to it without thinking of bails of hay and orange leaves swept in the breeze.

"My Own Face Inside the Trees" by the Clientele should only be played at summer after-parties.

Shit, I feel like Andy Rooney or Larry King.

The Decemberists are autumnal, and as I recall, have staggered seasonal releases. The Crane Wife came out around the onset of Fall last year, but Picaresque was a spring release. It's kind of irrelevant, now that I think about it, attributing release dates to the seasonal feel of the music, which is in itself subjective.

Maybe I'll have a spring or summer list. Pavement is summer. I'll think about how much of a dork about this I want to be.