June 22, 2003
Why Rudy's Sucks
I need a haircut. It's in that awkward stage between short and neat and long and neat -- longer than short and looking like Jimmy Johnson. Today I go down to Rudy's Barber Shop in Seattle's Phinney Ridge, just like always. Only this time... after an HOUR of waiting, I'm still not getting a haircut. I mean, come ON. I've been in crowded old people's shave-and-how-bout-them-Yanks shops with just about every male with a Social Security check in the tri-state area waiting for a cut, and I've still had service in an hour. Worse still, it's the weird call-in-and-put-me-on-the-list system -- they always quote you something like "it'll be 15 minutes" when you're still waiting after an hour, or "it'll be 45 minutes" and they call you 15 seconds later, scratch you off, and then you have to start all over again.
A men's haircut shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, tops, and that should include shampoo, cutting the hair with an X-Acto knife, and the barber reading you a chapter of Proust. It shouldn't take me an hour just to get to THIRD ON THE FK'N LIST. If I'm going to wait an hour for a trim listening to bad 80s glam metal turned up to 11, it better well include a couple of beers and some face time with Joan Jett.
That felt better. Rudy's Barber Shop in Seattle, you are officially on my "Axis of Customer Disservice" list. If Dubya turns his attention away from WMD and towards piss-poor customer service, I expect they'll receive a nice MOAB for their idiocy today.
June 18, 2003
Crushed Like A Bug
It's my day in the Lyric-a-Day Melee.
Posted by dylan at 12:02 AM
June 15, 2003
Since my father died in '94, I really haven't paid much attention to Father's Day at all. Just seemed like another day for Home Depot to sell power tools. This year, though, I'm getting an emotional response from today. Could be because just about every thirtysomething male I know had a kid in the last year.
Next January is ten years since he collapsed and died from a aortic aneurysm. I miss him. I'm just happy we parted on good terms a few weeks before. Happy Father's Day, Dad.
June 14, 2003
100 Songs, or How I Wasted A Sunny Day In Seattle
After the nutty VH1 Top 100 of the Last 25 Years list came out, fellow blogger Mark Hasty did a song by song analysis of the list, mocking their ludicrious choices. I suggested that we offer our own lists of 100 songs. That was Wednesday. Thursday I put together my list, unranked. I spent last night and almost all of today ranking them, including comments. I now respect VH1 and all these orgs that do these sorts of rankings. The top 10 or 15 are obvious, but you get further down and you spend precious minutes debating whether Garth Brooks should go above or below The Gap Band. Meanwhile, the Rev finished his list and posted it last night. So, finally, at almost 9pm PDT, a day late and dollar short, I'm done. Here goes....
1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana -- Probably the only place VH1 and I will agree on song and position. I can only think of three other "rock" songs that literally shifted the direction of popular music -- "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Billie Jean," and "Walk This Way."
2. "Unfinished Sympathy," Massive Attack -- This is a dance song? This? It has strings, soaring vocals, and an organic emotionalism that feels warm and real compared to the cold electronica emerging from house music at the time. Moby has been plagiarizing this song his whole career.
3. "Every Breath You Take," Police -- In 200 years, people will still be singing this song, probably because elevators will still be playing it.
4. "One," U2 -- It's about gays and the Church. Reminds me of a night in church where the prayer leader said something about thanking God for protecting the church from homosexuals... and a twentysomething woman on my row got up and stormed out. I hesitated, then got up to tell her that that wasn't what the church was about... but she was gone. "Did I ask too much?/More than a lot?/You gave me nothing/Now it's all I've got"
5. "Walk This Way," Run DMC -- On one hand, it finally knocked the barrier between whites and rap (and, in the long run, between whites and black music). On the other hand, it revived Aerosmith's career. I'm in a forgiving mood, though.
6. "The One I Love," REM -- I can explain. No, I can't. Look, it's the ultimate spite and malice song. It's not REM's best by a long shot (it's not even top three on Document), but from the moment Bill Berry bangs the drums twice, you know it's REM, and you know all the words (which is surprising, being that Michael Stipe could never enunciate).
7. "Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook remix)," Cornershop -- Look, if it seems way too high up the list, I suggest you find a copy and listen to it. Fatboy Slim turned into a caricature of a DJ within days of "The Rockafella Skank" turning into the soundtrack of every commercial in America, but for these three minutes he was Phil Spector. There are hooks in this song that grab onto you like Velcro. All from a song by an obscure Indian-Brit band. Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow.
8. "Billie Jean," Michael Jackson -- What happened to him?
9. "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," Richard Thompson -- If it weren't for the references to motorcycles, this song would have been huge in 1552. "There's nothing in this world/that beats a '52 Vincent and a red-headed girl."
10. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," Joan Jett -- After 30 years of rock and five years of punk, a woman finally steps up and kicks the boys in the rear.
11. "I Need Love," Sam Phillips -- If only for "And I need God/Not the political church." T Bone Burnett always saves his best tricks for his wife.
12. "Don't Dream It's Over," Crowded House -- The Finn brothers are brilliant songsmiths. I hated this song when it first came out, but now I don't understand why I felt that way.
13. "Bastards of Young," Replacements -- A cliched selection, but despite Chris Mars' off-rhythm drumming, the chaos is focused (at least until the last 30 seconds), and the result is anthemic.
14. "Creep," Radiohead -- The Rev and I disagree about the placement, but I think it belongs high. Someone finally beats the Cure and the Smiths at their own game. It feels out of place with the rest of Radiohead's body of work now, but I think it's because they knew that not only did they not want to replicate the sound, they couldn't.
15. "Tender," Blur -- 7.5 minutes of slow-building breakup song. Oasis could only dream of something so elegant and emotional.
16. "When You Say Nothing At All," Alison Krauss -- The best love song of the last 25 years by far. Could someone explain why Shania sells ten times as many records as Alison when nothing she's produced is one-tenth as good as this song?
17. "A New England," Billy Bragg -- And there are those who wonder why the Guthrie family would choose him to interpret Woody's unrecorded songs.
18. "Fight The Power," Public Enemy -- It's got a good beat, and it makes you ashamed to be white.
19. "Bittersweet," Big Head Todd and the Monsters -- A homer choice (being a CU grad and all), but a great live band that arrived at the jam band party a few years too early. The original recording, with syncopated drumming and a sparser production, is the one I like.
20. "When Doves Cry," Prince -- See #8.
21. "Sandusky," Uncle Tupelo -- Only instrumental on the list. You want a definition of Uncle Tupelo's sound? Here it is.
22. "Rapper's Delight," Sugarhill Gang -- Ranked high for is historical significance, not for lyrical greatness.
23. "Jeremy," Pearl Jam -- This was grunge's peak -- everything after "Jeremy" just doesn't measure up.
24. "Sit Down," James -- House music, Madchester, rock festivals... all merged into an extremely catchy chorus.
25. "Settled Down Like Rain," Jayhawks -- The Rev goes with "Blue," which is a fine song, but I'm more partial to this one.
26. "Tempted," Squeeze -- Using a litany as a hook: Great idea.
27. "If I Had A Rocket Launcher," Bruce Cockburn -- He took a lot of flak for saying "some son of a bitch would die" were he to possess said weapon. But it's righteous anger, right?
28. "Man On The Moon," REM -- From a pop song standpoint, the crowning moment on "Automatic for the People," although the two songs that follow it on the album ("Nightswimming" and "Find the River") are better from a purely musical standpoint.
29. "That's Just What You Are," Aimee Mann -- How this ended up on the Melrose Place soundtrack is beyond me.
30. "Everyday I Write The Book," Elvis Costello -- He wanted to be Bacharach long before he'd admit it publicly.
31. "With Or Without You," U2 -- I mean, I love the song, but it's starting to wear on me.
32. "Ana Ng," They Might Be Giants -- "I don't want the world/I just want your half."
33. "Private Conversation," Lyle Lovett -- The show-stopper for a musical about Lyle and Julia's short marriage.
34. "Should've Been In Love," Wilco -- A lot of heartbreak songs on this list, aren't there?
35. "Just Like Heaven," Dinosaur Jr -- in which a Cure song gets turned on its head. Robert Smith sings it in an "Oh I'm so mournful and goth that you left me" voice. J Mascis sings it the correct way, full of all the anger and vengance you should expect from a "YOU LEFT ME!" song.
36. "More Than This," Roxy Music -- This is getting covered to death of late, but that doesn't detract from the original.
37. "Fast Car," Tracy Chapman -- 1987-1992 was a very fertile and diverse musical period, but you never see anyone write about how many new styles and voices emerged and changed popular music.
38. "This Must Be The Place (Na´ve Melody)," Talking Heads -- The "No Surprises" of the 1980s.
39. "Talk of the Town," Pretenders -- Choosing a Pretenders song is difficult, especially since "Back on the Chain Gang" is the conventional and probably more important choice. But "Talk of the Town" doesn't have the baggage of "Chain Gang," and I think that helps it a bit. Having Garbage do a close to note-for-note cover ("Special") helps too.
40. "Wildwood," Paul Weller -- Weller never has made a significant impact in the States, but one could argue that he is the father of Britpop. In a parallel universe, Norah Jones is covering this song.
41. "Skyway," Replacements -- Anyone else think they lifted the guitar lick from "Afternoon Delight?"
42. "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding?," Elvis Costello -- Still a good question, even if rhetorical.
43. "Refugee," Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- All about accepting someone despite their relational baggage.
44. "Love Is Not The Only Thing," Mark Heard -- Died on stage just days before he was to sign with Bruce Cockburn's label, dooming him to obscurity even within the Christian music circles he played in. He may well have been the best lyric writer of this 25-year period.
45. "All Apologies," Nirvana -- Also known as "Kurt Cobain's Suicide Note."
46. "One," Metallica -- Heavy metal's triumphal moment ruined by a bunch of English flute-playing hacks.
47. "Deep Red Bells," Neko Case -- So lonely, so empty, and yet so warm.
48. "Here Comes Your Man," Pixies -- Seems kind of ironic that they were being pushed aside by Nirvana when they broke up.
49. "Cry," Sundays -- They've done a lot of great songs, but this one edges them out. Death done in a non-trite way.
50. "Pancho and Lefty," Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard -- Townes Van Zandt represents! Waaaay overproduced, but Willie doesn't let that stop him.
51. "Everlong," Foo Fighters -- The riff, the kinetic drumming, Nirvana's dissonance as if translated by Hal David.
52. "Someday Someway," Marshall Crenshaw -- Another vastly underheard songwriter.
53. "Lawyers Guns and Money," Warren Zevon -- So many Zevon songs, but this one is him at his wryest.
54. "We Float," PJ Harvey -- One of three songs that was in continuous rotation on my MP3 player in the days after 9/11. The other two? "Revelator" by Gillian Welch and "Last Good Day of the Year" by Cousteau.
55. "She's Already Made Up Her Mind," Lyle Lovett -- The country music establishment turned its back on Lyle (c.f. the derision at him winning the Best Country Album in 1996), but when he wanted to be country, he could put even George Strait to shame.
56. "Gun," Uncle Tupelo -- Too many choices, so I went with the single.
57. "I Think I Need A New Heart," Magnetic Fields -- Another one of those decisions: this or "I Don't Want To Get Over You?" Blown expectations in a relationship, combined with low self-esteem and a Cuban beat, equals quirky and sweet.
58. "No Surprises," Radiohead -- The "This Must Be The Place" of the 1990s.
59. "Outtamind (Outtasite)", Wilco -- A great, great 70mph sort of driving song.
60. "Caroline," Concrete Blonde -- A song for a jilted girlfriend sung by the previous dumpee.
61. "Interstate Love Song," Stone Temple Pilots -- Another great driving song a la #59.
62. "Sleep the Clock Around," Belle and Sebastian -- Their tribute to Stereolab.
63. "Age of Consent," New Order -- A dance song twenty years ahead of everything else. Compare this to its contemporaries "Don't You Want Me" and "Tainted Love." Both those feel immensely dated, but "Age" could have been recorded this morning.
64. "32 Flavors," Ani DiFranco -- The most outspoken of the 90s crop of singer-songwriters takes on herself -- and effectively punts.
65. "Sitting Still," REM -- This is the third REM song on the list and the toughest to pick.
66. "Ms Jackson," Outkast -- Mr Hasty hasn't heard this, but I have, and it's brilliant. It's amazing how the "absent black father" has become so engrained into African American (and general American) culture in just 30 years. Moment a man says he'll support the child, suspicions arise. "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson/I am for real"
67. "1979," Smashing Pumpkins -- After a while, doing these comments gets repetitive. Good song. Great song. Underrated. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It's hard to come up with something creative at every turn. "1979" is a good song, but there's not much more I can say about it. It's ambiguous, D'Arcy probably has her best rhythm line as a bassist, but otherwise, it's just a good song. In fact, all 100 of these songs are good. Rinse. Repeat.
68. "Train In Vain," Clash -- This is a good song. OK, I'll try harder. You know what makes this song work? That harmonica. Holds the whole song together.
69. "Time Capsule," Matthew Sweet -- Another of those "why hasn't someone covered this" songs, especially considering how cogent the lyrics are.
70. "Fell In Love With A Girl," White Stripes -- Remember how different this sounded when it first came out? The garage band thing came and went quicker than rockabilly in 1982.
71. "Misguided Angel," Cowboy Junkies -- This, or Hem's "Beautiful Sea?" In the end, I go with the dark and organic arrangement of the Junkies. Margo Timmins sings like a weary lover or sister.
72. "Angel of Harlem," U2 -- Their third appearance. Horn sections have been used ("No Reply at All") and abused (pretty much every Phil Collins solo record), but here they're used appropriately, rhythm section and carrier of the melody on the bridge.
73. "Where Do I Begin," Chemical Brothers -- I wanted to make sure Beth Orton made the list, even if she only sang the same four verses over and over and over again.
74. "That's Entertainment," The Jam -- So many Jam songs to choose from, but I'll go with this one, the definitive statement on the nature of British domestic life.
75. "Mmmbop," Hanson -- Even the mention of the song title reawakens that horrid earworm, doesn't it?
76. "Atomic Dog," George Clinton -- Ditto.
77. "Ashes To Ashes," David Bowie -- Major Tom (slight return).
78. "Cheap Sunglasses," ZZ Top -- Their glory days were already behind them (and their days of eighteen times a day on MTV ahead), but, well, this is a good song.
79. "You Will Be Waiting," Barenaked Ladies -- A tender ballad sung by one country to its separatist province.
80. "Dance The Night Away," Mavericks -- By 1998, country couldn't figure out what to do with Raul Malo. Makes you wonder if the "she" in the song is an ex-girlfriend or their A&R woman.
81. "Haven't Got A Clue," Dramarama -- Woulda coulda shoulda been big, but they sounded like T.Rex when America was more inclined to grunge.
82. "I Don't Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops, Up Side Your Head)," Gap Band -- By far the longest title on the list.
83. "Heroin Girl," Everclear -- They've only made two songs in their entire career, this one, and the one song they've rerecorded and retitled, oh, 60 times or since "Heroin Girl" came out.
84. "You Don't Treat Me No Good," Sonia Dada -- Proof that too many musicians doesn't always spoil the pot. Hummable.
85. "September," Earth Wind and Fire -- I had this stuck in my head for two weeks, and I hadn't heard it in ten years.
86. "Never Talking To You Again," Husker Du -- Yet another group I struggled to pick one song for.
87. "(Keep Feeling) Fascination," Human League -- A strange selection, admittedly, but this is one of those rare times where two vocalists complement each other well enough to make you forget that they're singing in different keys.
88. "Ain't Nuttin But A G Thang," Dr Dre -- If Issac Hayes or Marvin Gaye rapped, this is the kind of song they'd create. Laid back, hip, smooth.
89. "The Lonely 1," Wilco -- "Every Breath You Take," fan club edition.
90. "Close To Me," Cure -- Robert Smith proves he's capable of not sounding like he's about to kill himself.
91. "Guitars, Cadillacs," Dwight Yoakam -- What many people forget is that he was the one who dragged country kicking and screaming out of the "Urban Cowboy" era.
92. "Singing In My Sleep," Semisonic -- It's about mix tapes. Gotta like that.
93. "Coming Up Close," Til Tuesday -- The first sign that Aimee Mann wasn't just a one-hit wonder with a rattail.
94. "Friends In Low Places," Garth Brooks -- See #20.
95. "Empty Baseball Park," Whiskeytown -- Ryan Adams is not a genius or the reincarnation of Gram Parsons, but here he restrains his wannabe rock star self long enough to produce a beauty -- and without Caitlin Cary to bail him out.
96. "Wind of Change," Scorpions -- The last gasp of 80s metal, the last gasp of Communist Europe; enough to make you overlook the horridness of the production.
97. "F**k Da Police," NWA -- Gangsta rap at its harshest moment.
98. "King Of All The World," Old 97's -- Forever doomed to be bumper music for talk shows.
99. "I Want It That Way," Backstreet Boys -- Damn you, Diane Warren. Damn you all to heck.
100. "One Night In Bangkok," Murray Head -- Everyone has their guilty pleasures. Plus, it was written by Benny from Abba.
And there it is. I hope I never have to do that again.
June 13, 2003
Friday Five -- with minutes to spare
1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have?
Traipse around a foreign country as a backpacker. I'm too old now to do that.
2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest?
If it's good, I am. If it's bad, I try not to be honest, but I usually am. If it's my wife, I'm always wrong. :)
3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened?
Sophomore year of college there was this woman, we'll call her M, that fell pretty hard for this guy, we'll call him G. I had a good idea he was a male slut, mainly because he got my best female friend at the time, we'll call her K, into bed with him. (He had some sort of power over women that I could never understand, almost like he was using some form of mind control.) Still, I'm a benefit of the doubt person... until one evening I was walking over to my girlfriend's place, we'll call her R, and I saw G pretty much making the moves on another girl, we'll call her X (I didn't know who she was, honestly). He's trying to play tonsil hockey and she's warming up the Zamboni. G was officially dating M at the time. I didn't know what to do -- should I sit on the information, or should I tell her? I talked to her across the hall neighbor (N); she said not to say anything, and I didn't. M found out that she'd been played a couple weeks later. She was livid with me. I ended up writing her a two-page apology. We've spoken once since then, and not in nine years at that. I regretted not telling her, but at the same time I'm not sure what that would have done. She probably would have shaken me off, told me I was jealous.
4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why?
I don't know. I like character interactions more than worlds in movies. Maybe Middle Earth, but not as a LoTR geek. :)
5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted?
Playing a stringed instrument well.
Vacation plans are being finalized -- straight down I-5 to Modesto (with a detour through Crater Lake), on to San Fran, then up the coast on 101 and CA 1, possibly seeing Redwood and St. Helens in the process. The volcanologist in me hopes we can see Lassen.
Hopefully, the camera will be back by then -- and I can pick up a bigger CompactFlash card. I have room for about 150 shots now, but I figure that if I can't offload pics somewhere on the road that I'll need between 300 and 400 -- or a couple of 256MB cards.
Posted by dylan at 08:09 AM
June 12, 2003
What makes a song great?
I'm currently collaborating (with Mark Hasty) on a response to the dreck that is the VH1 Top 100 of the Last 25 Years. As I try to compile the songs to whittle down to a hundred ("F**k The Police" in, "Don't Know Why" out...) I find I need to define the overarching question of a list like this: What makes a song great?
I've tried to come up with a musical equivalent of the Keltner List, a litany of questions that Bill James came up with to define whether a baseball player is worthy of the Hall of Fame or not. I think this works pretty well in separating the Police from the Winger, though it doesn't help with the ranking process. Since Bill James named his list after a marginal Hall of Famer, I should name my list after a marginally good song -- The "Wonderwall" List.
Posted by dylan at 05:13 PM
June 10, 2003
Skippy Sweatervest: Fired
According to the P-I, Rick Neuheisel is toast. That lying, weasely SOB can finally, finally get out of my life after running my alma mater into the ground and onto probation, then giving my employer a black eye.
So long, Skippy. Enjoy the end of your college football coaching career. I'm sure the Bungles will need a QB coach soon enough.
Posted by dylan at 09:55 PM
June 09, 2003
If you look to the right, you'll see six tiny buttons, stolen from the Steal These Buttons website (and also built via the online button maker). The XHTML button doesn't work -- I haven't configured the CDATA chunks right so that links with query strings don't make the validator barf.
Posted by dylan at 06:57 PM
June 08, 2003
Am I sick or just tired?
I don't know. Woke up feeling like I didn't want to wake up and still am not awake 12 hours later. It didn't help that I read Tim Eyman is suddenly going for revenge.
Since he knows he has a snowball's chance in hell of repealing the gas tax (since it makes sense, buys lots of roads east of the mountains, and everyone now understands how bad the gridlock is), he's going after the one stable tax the state has: property. Four years ago, Eyman argued that the tax structure was whacked -- car tab revenues went to the general fund, timber sales funded schools, property taxes pretty much went everywhere but schools -- and rode a neo-Prop 13 crest to victory. Now, after years of cutbacks and tax cuts, the people of the state are finally realizing that you can't keep cutting revenue AND increasing targeted expenditures without turning into Alabama or Oregon. And, still, here comes Eyman with his bad math and his "consultant's fee" to again push Washington a little further down the slope towards craptasticness.
What's rich is that I hear people complain about the leadership in Olympia -- and they still return the same state legislators every two years. The people of this state would rather be apathetic than really give a damn.
So, I'm considering running for governor. I'm tired of the lack of leadership in the governor's office and in the party offices. Here's my three point plan:
1. Shut down every state service. All of them. Universities? Closed. State highways? Jersey barriered. Basic Health? Don't get sick. Law enforcement? Do it yourself. Legislators? Go away. Ferries? Drydock.
2. Once everything is shut down, I will use the remaining money in the coffers to do the following:
a. Activate the National Guard. I mean, there has to be some order here.
b. Set up a toll-free 800 line for people to call and request a service be (re)provided by the state. My operator will inform them of the cost of the service and ask how they would like to pay for it. He will also remind them of the value in bulk discounts: if said person can convince the 5 million people of the state to all go in together on the service, it means it'll be that much cheaper!
I say "he" here because my operator will be Tim Eyman, who under the rules of war can be held without habeas corpus (remember the National Guard?) Oh, did I mention this would be a 24/7 hotline?
3. After the right amount of chaos has ensued, say, two weeks, all the requests are assembled, and we create a new tax plan, one that is fair, equitable, and reasonable. We do this by calling a constitutional convention and tearing up the idiot document we have overseeing this state. To ensure equity, we lock out any voter-approved initiatives from being filed for five years. We also make it that much tougher to file by banning paid signature gatherers, raising the minimum number of signatures to 25% of the state voting age population, and requiring a 3/5ths majority for raising or lowering taxes.
Once all this is accomplished, I will step down and get a real job.
June 07, 2003
Susan sold an article to a magazine. First submission and she gets a sale. I am proud of my wife
Tonight for dinner we went to Pallino Pastaria, this counter-service Italian fast food slow food sort of place. (That was real descriptive there. Let's go with "upscale Cucina Presto." Reason I went was because I won $12 in gift certificates at the company picnic a while back. Pasta: good. I had the cacciatore, which was chunks of chicken thigh in rigatoni. Salad: not as good. Balsamic vinegar chopped salad. It's a dish with a lot of tomatoes, but the 'maters were pretty bad quality, kind of watery. The expectation is that they are supposed to be the base on which the cheese and greens are built, but they were so weak that the tomatoes just didn't happen.
On the way home from U Village we ended up in the middle of a high speed chase on I-5. Couple of fast 'n' furious street racers fly past us followed by at least a dozen state and city cop cars. On cop tried to throw a puncture strip out in front of the speeding morons... and got a cruiser instead. Poor troopers lost all their tires and ended up on the side of the freeway. Not to worry, there were still 11 more cars in pursuit.
June 06, 2003
It's getting warm in here
At this moment, it's 90F at SeaTac, 88F at
ChickencarpetbaggerBoeing Field, and 82F in Tulsa. That's right. It's June, and it's hotter in Seattle than in Tulsa. Or Dallas. Or El Paso. Or the whole Midwest.
Neuheisel is being left to twist in the wind. Poor Skippy. Now he's proclaiming his innocence. What does he think he is, the Iraqi information minister?
Posted by dylan at 04:05 PM
June 05, 2003
Goodbye Skippy Sweatervest
Rick Neuheisel has admitted that he was part of a March Madness pool. That's usually not a problem, unless you're an NCAA football coach, you're betting college basketball games, and the NCAA is on the warpath to stop gambling at the college level.
I've never liked Neuheisel. He was a weasel at Colorado, and the probation proves that. His "personal probation" was a first for the NCAA -- and quite smart. Unfortunately, Skippy didn't get the message, and I truly doubt that he would have even if they'd used a clue by 4 to the head. He's a good ol' boy, and he'll do what his drinkin' friends do. Good luck in the NFL, Skippy. By the way, they'll let you do brackets as an NFL assistant, but I suggest you do all you can to learn how to be a good coach, not a handicapper of the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Posted by dylan at 10:43 AM
Sammy Sosa, the day after
Turns out Sammy had one corked bat -- and 76 legal ones. He said that it was an honest mistake, and the evidence pretty well corroborates his story.
He'll be suspended, as well he should be. Honest mistake or not, why have illegal equipment anywhere that could get you in trouble?
Sammy is an honorable man. He faced the media -- in a language that he still struggles with -- and laid it all out. Just once I want to see a Bush administration official do this. I think I know why Dubya traded Sosa to the White Sox: He couldn't take having someone who tells it like it is on his team.
Posted by dylan at 12:18 AM
June 04, 2003
Rama, Jama, Tax-a-bama
The governor of Alabama is trying to restructure the state's gawdawful mega-regressive tax system by shifting the burden around -- that is to say that he is raising taxes. That's not so unusual... until you realize he's a right-wing Republican.
I read through the article and applaud what he's doing. He's not really raising taxes, he's just shifting the burden of the extremely poor and on to the rich. It's not really a money-making scheme for the state; people will pay less in taxes across the board. It's a very GOP plan for raising taxes.
Posted by dylan at 01:57 PM
June 03, 2003
Susan goes with LiveJournal
Despite my coaxing, my dear wife eschews my Blogger account and this very MT setup and goes with LiveJournal. Sigh. I was hoping she'd see the light and set herself up on MT. At least she's blogging, finally.
Posted by dylan at 10:27 PM
M's vs. the Phils
The Mariners open interleague play tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies. Just for George, the carpetbagger who won't root for his hometown team, here's an article in today's P-I about Philly's hate-hate relationship with its sports teams.
The End of Radio
With the FCC's decision to open the floodgates wider on media megapoly, I've wondered if the end of radio is nigh. The concept of local radio seems to have vanished. Music radio is now driven by a payola scheme that makes what Alan Freed did look like a peccadillo. And talk radio, well, it's pretty much Rush, just as it has been for the last 10+ years. Commercial radio is now so incredibly boring that, where I once had all ten buttons programmed on my car stereo, I'm down to three now.
This leads us to non-commerical radio and NPR. Their audience seems to be growing. NPR has effectively become the closest thing we have to the Beeb. But the network has its problems. For one thing, it's not diverse when it comes to music -- it generally still stilts towards the classical/jazz audience (that is, old and rich), and while stations like WXPN and KEXP have had some success with a younger music format, you don't see many other stations going that route. Also, as NPR builds as a network, you can sense the tension between locally-produced programming, the national feed, and PRI-MPR's other feed. Stations are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to get Morning Edition and Prairie Home Companion; they want to get their money's worth, so why spend the money on a local news program when you can play the same "please hold for the next available This American Life" music? On the other side, there are the stations (like KUOW) who have the money and resources for local programming -- and then hose the good shows on the national feed (Science Friday, Fresh Air) to save money. There's also the PRI vs. NPR battle as well -- two competing public radio syndicators that are fighting for time on public stations. (The more I hear about MPR the more I think Jesse Ventura's slam of the network's "wealth" was right.)
Still, the public stations are producing more innovative, more creative, and more interesting programming than the commercial stations around them. The Internet is lending to this diversity through streaming audio. People will start to move away from the mainstream as it becomes more homogenized, because Americans what something different every once in a while. The media companies are feeding Americans a steady diet of macaroni. Eventually, they'll start clamoring for pizza -- or at least a different shape of pasta.
Too many sad days, too many Tuesday mornings
The end of media ownership diversity. Bush's road map to nowhere. North Korea and their nukes. Interleague play. Someone please tell me there's something to blog that doesn't make me want to reach for the Prozac.
This is the first blog of three today. Next: The end of radio.