Friday, January 31, 2003

the 2002 lambda literary award finalists have been announced. they're not a definitive look at the year in queer books any more than the oscars are to the year in film. but they're not a bad place to start, either.

immediately following their midnight airing of "hurt," cmt showed sheryl crow's video for "steve mcqueen." I was struck by a couple of things:
1. sheryl's living proof that women over 40 can still be really, really hot.
2. dale earnhardt, jr. is proof that nascar winston cup drivers are still hotter.
3. cmt needs to play more stuff like this sprinkled throughout their playlist (springsteen's "lonesome day" is still in heavy rotation, as well); rockin', rootsy stuff fits like a glove with toby keith and johnny cash.
4. this song is everything "soak up the sun" isn't: it's got a little grit, a lot of character, and actually rocks. "sun" is glossy el-lay radio pop.

the video for johnny cash's "hurt" is truly, honestly, literally breathtaking. mark romanek constructed a clip that largely cuts between shots of the man in black in his prime and clips of him now, performing pieces of the song in the now-closed house of cash museum. the contrast is intentionally jarring. cash now looks frail, making "hurt" an even more appropriate choice of song for him to sing. his wife, june carter cash, appears in a handful of scenes watching her husband. she appears to nearly be in tears; watching june watch johnny is heartbreaking. she knows that his degenerative condition isn't getting any better - which adds to the punch. and johnny couldn't have sung this song 10, 20, 30 years ago; it's as if trent reznor knew that this wasn't a young man's song and gave it over to cash to take and make his own, which he's done. cash said in a recent interview that "hurt" is a song he would've written in the '60s, were he a better writer. his reinvention of the song is a testament to two things: the fact that reznor is an appallingly underrated songwriter, and the fact of cash's simple brilliance. as chet flippo wrote in a review of american iv: the man comes around last year,
"His voice is ravaged by time, but he has never sounded more like the eloquent voice of the ages."
fortunately, cash's voice will be with us throughout ages to come, even as the man himself stops coming around.

damned right, ratto. if I never hear lebron james' name again, to quote alan jackson, that'd be alright.

field mob are so country they make outkast look like they're from manhattan. "sick of being lonely" is one of the few jazze pha productions I've liked in the last 12 months; simple and effective (like a john deere), it highlights boondox and kalage's dutty (rural) south drawls. they're nappy roots minus arrested development, and what a good thing that is. git git down, y'all.

new-to-me, which is not the same thing as new: cinemarati, which subtitles itself as "the web alliance for film commentary." talk about truth in advertising. marvelous, thoughtful talk about good films.

johnny cash and director mark romanek have made a phenomenal video for cash's cover of nine inch nails' "hurt." you need to watch it.

oh. my. gosh. deep house heads, heaven awaits at deep house page, pages upon pages of downloadable live house mixes by the kings and queens of the genre. excuse me, I'll be back in about 2 months... [muchos gracias to matthew ingram for the link.]

Thursday, January 30, 2003

hey, eric, how'd you know I love the housemartins? I think if I had the chance to host college hoops 2night, my head might explode from sheer giddiness.

also, thanks to virtual hookup, tmftml, ken, and phant for the love this week. extra special thanks to orland outland (who really needs his own website, imho) for sending me an autographed copy of his stunning novel different people. 'scuse me, I'm having a sally field moment...

I thought arizona would go undefeated in the pac-10. I was wrong.

who needs the 700 club? [no, really. who, and why?] in men's college basketball, we've got the 800 club, bay-bee!

all the makings of a classic: #2 at #1. defending national champs. coach insulting home team's fans. maybe the two best players in the country. saturday night. uconn. duke. it's on!

are you as sick as I am of hearing about spoiled little bitch lebron james? whatcha wanna bet he doesn't last 5 years in the nba? whoever drafts him deserves what they get.

both music- and personally-related: my bf just called me the lindsey to his stevie. wow. if you knew him, you'd know just how significant that is. my breath's practically taken away. how cool is that?

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

and yet more thanks to jimbo for pointing me in the direction of dogpoet. woof, indeed! and not only that, but his blog is full of beauty and poetry and he writes like the best dream you've never had. he's that good.

thanks to jimbo for the link... heaven is a gay sports bar. or would be, as I've never been to one. I'm with jimbo - d.c. needs one! yeah!

matthew's got an mp3 of renee zellweger's fab performance of "roxie" from chicago up at fluxblog. yay! [go for the download, stay for the writing!]

all-fuckin'-right! watch out - soblo's back. [and seriously, I'm glad he seems to be doing a lot beter.]

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

just one link from, but it's a good 'un, y'all: jay bilas celebrates bob knight.

catching up:
+a laugh-so-hard-you-might-wet-yourself vignette from ernie, on a sadly-never-written prince song.
+do you feel loved? is back as a blog, now live from the u.k. yay!
+cooped-up is back from hiatus, still live from indianapolis. yay!
+mcerlain on the sad, sad pro bowl.
+daily kos on bush's "sotu".
+the superb jody beth rosen on elvis - the other one.
+no rock'n'roll fun watches some videos, so you don't have to.
+and matos does up some more lists - this time, it's fred bronson's fault. seriously, we need both of them like we need air to breathe.

like ross & rachel, I'm on a break. in the meantime, catch up on my archives while listening to spinner's 80s alternative channel. now playing: the pixies' "gigantic." what a great fucking song.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

this is how blogs work, kids: thanks to toddo, I discovered the very well-composed blog of hot hot jimbo, and reading his blog led me to that of the all-too-interesting (and also hot) seamus mcstebbins. some say it's a fad; I say it's a revolution.

yeah, I'm back on the blog before the end of the super bowl. that's largely 'cause it was boring as hell. I really don't care who wins anyway, but the bucs had a 20-3 lead at halftime and inflicted even more damage on the raiders once the 3rd quarter started. best ad in the first half was ozzy's pepsi commercial with donny and marie and florence henderson (hilarious). as for the halftime show, I didn't hear shania's performance (our hosts, not fans, muted her), but no doubt played live, which was refreshing, even if they did pull out that hoary, cobwebbed "just a girl." then they were joined by sting for a fine rendition of "message in a bottle." if sting ever needs a new backing band, he could do worse than to consider gwen's boys.

hey, there were some super hoops this sunday, too, in case you forgot. creighton "[got their] mojo back" in the second half to beat tcu 89-79, oklahoma state has now won 14 in a row after topping texas tech 79-70, and has anyone noticed michigan's run? they're right behind ok state with 13 consecutive "w"s, the most recent coming over reeling michigan state today, 60-58. the wolverines still haven't lost in the big ten. new polls, bracketology, and a look at the week ahead coming tomorrow.

lil missy mack, how can you hate on darren hayes' superb "crush"? you're hurtin' me. though I'll give you that if e crunk'll give me 50 cent... (and feel the love he gives the cheeky girls!).

last night I watched cmt's inside fame on wynonna. endlessly fascinating - and not just the fights between wy and her mom (and musical partner in the judds) naomi, but glimpses into wynonna's creative process, her personal history, and testimonials from her little sis (actress ashley judd), dolly parton, and garth brooks, amongst others. the key to wynonna - less so the judds, where she seemed a little more reigned in - is that gargantuan voice of hers, capable of singing anything from a country lullaby to a rockin' rhythm & blues number. [when I first heard "no one else on earth," from her solo debut, I honestly thought it was a new tina turner record.] she just did a great set of "20 questions" for here's part one and part two.

the super bowl? this year, I'm only watching for the commercials, the chicks singing the national anthem, and shania's half of the halftime show (here's hoping she sings live).

#1 "bump, bump, bump," b2k featuring p. diddy. why are they singing about "sexy mamas"? they're teenagers! need more proof that diddy is a waste of space and breath? it's right here. disgusting. and you know who else can be blamed for this travesty? the songwriter and producer - whaddaya know, it's r. kelly! putrid. an early frontrunner for worst single of 2003.

#2 "beautiful," christina aguilera. not teen-pop, and not a mariah rip-off either, apart from its "you are important and a wonderful person - yes, you" verging-on-bombast. she really can sing, folks, and convey emotion. kudos.

#3 "cry me a river," justin timberlake. and they said the teen-pop boom was bust... and they're right. this is mature pop, future shit, all bleeps and clicks, about a month away from becoming oval or matmos. credit timbaland for that. simultaneously, it's a wonder of a pop record, superb lyrics sung even better. credit justin for that.

#4 "I'm with you," avril lavigne. no, you're not.

#5 "all I have," jennifer lopez featuring ll cool j. I hate j-lo because she's finally found a formula for making good rhythmic pop records, and I like 'em, and I don't wanna. amazing that it took her this long to cut a record with ll, really - they're a perfect, creamy match on wax. but can she do it without a recognizable sample (this one from "something special")?

#6 "'03 bonnie & clyde," jay-z featuring beyonce. think: if they really are a couple, how gorgeous would their kids be?

#7 "air force ones," nelly featuring kyjuan, ali and murphy lee. apparently determined to prove that you'll listen to anything he releases, nelly follows two simply monstrous chart-toppers with a nike commercial. and you wonder why I loathe him so?

#8 "mesmerize," ja rule featuring ashanti. ludicrous, not ludacris. "love it when you thug me, baby"? what?! continuing ja's pattern of following a good single (in this case, "thug lovin'") with an awful one.

#9 "lose yourself," eminem. from fred bronson's "chart beat bonus":
8 MILES DOWN: After a 12-week reign atop Billboard's Hot 100, Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (Shady/Interscope) makes a dramatic drop, down to No. 9. It's the biggest fall from No. 1 in exactly 14 years. The week of Feb. 4, 1989, Phil Collins' "Two Hearts," from the "Buster" soundtrack, collapsed 1-10.
that doesn't change the fact, however, that this has been shady's biggest hit ever because it's his best ever. greil marcus is pretentious as fuck, but he's right when he calls this song a career-defining moment. tense, coiled, a cobra about to strike is em as rabbit - the question is, can he keep it up outside of that role?

#10 "miss you," aaliyah. by babygirl's standards, kind of a yawner. delicate, pretty, but nothing to make it stand out - save her distinctive caress of a voice. great video, though, with various musical stars (including missy and tweet, of course, but also toni braxton and tank) lipsynching aaliyah's vocals.

#11 "don't mess with my man," nivea featuring brian and brandon casey. pleasant-enough, inoffensive r-and-b. but why is she named after a lotion?

#12 "landslide," dixie chicks. avoid at all costs the sheryl crow remix, which is grabbing major crossover airplay and cheapens the song by adding drums and a supposedly subtle click track. the original's more than enough, all about the sorrow of wide open spaces, stunningly arranged and, yeah, note-perfect. those vocal harmonies! like if stevie nicks went to a guitar pull.

#13 "work it," missy elliot. fuck, it was the undisputed single of 2002, what else you wanna know? it's all about missy's chocha.

#14 "the game of love," santana featuring michelle branch. carlos given room to breathe, michelle given room to practically swing, the track given room to go all '60s motown on dat azz. and I just learned this week the real reason why this song is so marvelous: it's written by gregg alexander, the modern pop genius who was new radicals. don't even think of telling me you don't remember new radicals - maybe you've been brainwashed too is the best album hall & oates haven't made in 15+ years! "you get what you give" is a masterpiece. this isn't, but comes close.

#15 "in da club," 50 cent. well, it's clear why this is such a club banger - the beat is immaculate (is that a timpani?!). the lyrics, not so much. "we're having sex/I ain't into makin' love" - well, at least he's honest, I suppose. ladies, you've been warned.

#16. "she hates me," puddle of mudd. and I hate you. utterly undistinguished whiny-ass rock.

#17 "ignition," r. kelly. I am completely befuddled as to why this is a hit, and it has everything to do with mr. kelly's extracurricular activites. basically a rewrite of his '95 hit "you remind me of something" - he's awfully fond of using vehicles as metaphors for sex, then - it's smarmy as all get-out. musically, it's plush, naughty-but-nice soul. but I am incapable of hearing this without thinking of him sexually abusing 13-year-old girls. ick.

#18 "jenny from the block," jennifer lopez featuring jadakiss & styles. it's all about the south bronx and that flute loop, y'all.

now back to my review of the top 50 of this week's billboard hot 100.

#19 "picture," kid rock featuring sheryl crow. a surprisingly sensitive, gently loping track from the kid and his pre-pam squeeze. reminds me of a waylon jennings ballad.

felt like crap when I got up this morning, but am relatively back to normal now. an apology to my friends who expected me at the bowling alley. playing catch-up, a look at selected entries in this week's new uk top 40 singles chart:
#37 "a little bit," rosie ribbons. didn't jessica simpson do this song in a bally's commercial? no, really.
#34 "dinosaur adventure 3d," underworld. not "two months off," more like two weeks.
#29 "the ketchup song (asereje)," las ketchup. why is this the longest-runner in the chart, at 16 weeks? simple: because it makes people feel good.
#28 "you drove me to it," hell is for heroes. why is it that most new uk bands of the last few years fall into one of two categories, either sub-coldplay or sub-limp bizkit? this is like the latter without the "rap" element. I prefer the pat benatar song after which this mediocre group is named.
#26 "fix my sink," dj sneak featuring bear'who?. stick to non-vocal tracks, sneak. I mean really, "fix my sink"?!
#23 "please," robin gibb. well, at least maurice's death wasn't entirely in vain...
#19 "crush (1980 me)," darren hayes. probably the most joy-filled record not named "the ketchup song" in this week's chart, a blissful cruise through memories of growing up a child of the '80s. does everything right that mark wills' "19 somethin'" does wrong. the word you're looking for is poptastic, though mills called it '80s-tastic, which is fine but not as catchy.
#17 "stormy in the north," the wildhearts. why is it that radio 1 playlists crap like hell is for heroes, good charlotte, and yet another fucking oasis single whilst ignoring great tracks like this? sounds like son of foo. crunchy and tasty, like popcorn 'n peanuts.
#16 "nice weather for ducks," lemon jelly. lovely and bizarre.
#13 "love story (vs. finally)," layo & bushwacka!. excellent example of a faux dj boot that works a charm, reminding me of ebtg vs. soul vision's "tracey in my room" (#33 a year ago). warm, inviting, and infinitely danceable.
#10 "hidden agenda," craig david. another warm one, and one which deserved much better. he tries to make a name for himself in the states, and his countrymen turn their collective back on him, what? nicely understated pop-soul.
#7 "mudian to bach ke," panjabi mc. only down 2 places, woo hoo! here's hoping that bhangra's the sound to break from the underground to the mainstream (finally) in '03.
#4 "year 3000," busted. I don't care if they play guitars and write their own songs, not when they're as horridly insipid as this: "and your great-great-great granddaughter/is pretty fine." well, thanks for the tip, boys. not being prefab doesn't mean you're still not a boy band, y'know.
#3 "the opera song (brave new world)," jurgen vries featuring cmc. cmc a/k/a charlotte church. this single is a marketer's wet dream, and a music lover's nightmare. shite stadium-trance with faux-operatic trilling by the vile no-longer-a-child-prodigy-and-where-do-you-go-from-there? church. worst new entry of the week by furlongs.
#2 "'03 bonnie & clyde," jay-z featuring beyonce knowles. was really hoping this'd knock sneddo off the top. have discovered it's a real grower; after being initially not so impressed, I'm learning to love this song - and happy about it. this wipes the floor with every ja rule/ashanti collabo because beyonce has personality, something ashanti wouldn't know if it hit her in the face. well, that and the fact that jay-z is excellent.
#1 "stop living the lie," david sneddon. so?

next week, folks, it's all about t.a.t.u....

Saturday, January 25, 2003

I'll finish the rest tomorrow, swear. right now, it's late and I'm sleepy.

#20 "gossip folks," missy elliott featuring ludacris. I can't imagine a worse way to follow up the genius of "work it" than with this honestly bad record which swipes huge chunks from "double dutch bus" (a wretched record) and features missy at her most shrill; she sounds like she has bronchitis. thank heaven for the small miracle that is a ludacris cameo. shame he can't save this train wreck, though.

#21 "thugz mansion," 2pac (featuring nas). one of the most simple and to-the-point records ever from 2pac, just acoustic guitar and voice. perfectly lovely.

#22 "wanksta," 50 cent. at my office, we refer to this song as chinese water torture. I've yet to ascertain what dre and em see in this fuckwad.

#23 "19 somethin'," mark wills. oh, please, another look-back-through-time "rockin'" country song, please! trained monkeys can write better songs than this.

#24 "your body is a wonderland," john mayer. every year gets its own shawn mullins.

#25 "underneath it all," no doubt featuring lady saw. I love gwen stefani and her band of merry men as a pop band. I don't love gwen stefani and her band of merry men pretending to be a reggae band.

#26 "lifestyles of the rich and famous," good charlotte. music to soundtrack the x games by. as punk as avril lavigne, mohawks or no. listening to this was 3:11 I'll never have back.

#27 "family portrait," pink. the strongest single yet off m!ssundaztood, very gloomy and sincere. so of course it's been the only one to miss the top ten. more of this and less, much less, party starting, please.

#28 "love of my life (an ode to hip-hop)," erykah badu featuring common. better than anything off common's electric circus is this gorgeously sinuous and sneaky remake of his "I used to love h.e.r." masquerading as a love song. it's a love song, yeah - to an art form, not a person. hard to go wrong with a fender rhodes, y'all, or with badu crooning with that melted-butter voice.

#29 "when I'm gone," 3 doors down. dear sweet god make them fucking stop. and the major labels wonder why sales are down when they insist on releasing an endless stream of generic, shitty, "rock" records by idiots like nickelback, creed, default, and this bunch. could you pick this jerkoffs out of a lineup? anyone remember candlebox? my point exactly.

#30 "I should be...," dru hill. how's that solo career working out for you, sisqo? what? so good, you say, that you have to not only regroup your old group but add a new member for insurance purposes? nice production, too - if this were a 1994 jodeci single.

#31 "the baby," blake shelton. lowest-common-denominator treacly jerk-your-chain country design to bring a tear to your eye and take a twenty from your wallet in the hopes you'll buy his new album. horrible. and "ohio" and "bayou" do not rhyme.

#32 "made you look," nas. fucking cracking, nasir jones back and firing on all cylinders. grimey primo-in-'97 nyc production paired with a renewed urgency in nas' spitting = another career peak. best lines: "don't say my car's topless/say its tits is out" and "this ain't rappin'/this is street-hop." amen, brother nas, amen.

#33 "fabulous," jaheim featuring tha rayne. a singer and performer as teddy (pendergrass)-tastic as jaheim shouldn't have to stoop to gimmicks such as a children's chorus to sell records. not to mention that a laundry list of 'hood cliches ("charge that to tha game," single-parent homes, absent babydaddies, "shots get[ting] popped," "switching lanes," need I really go on?) and a "don't hate on us/we're fabulous" chorus will provoke a reaction the opposite of its intent in many listeners. like me. when crap records happen to good artists.

#34 "fall into me," emerson drive. rascal flatts, doubled. not a compliment.

#35 "something," lasgo. progressive house and trance-pop: two matters for the united nations war crimes tribunal to take up immediately.

#36 "paradise," ll cool j featuring amerie. uncle l's smoothed-out keni burke-sampling love jam is a slippery monster of a record. someone please give him my number! amerie coos along like his devoted musical wife.

#37 "she'll leave you with a smile," george strait. strait's the country answer to zz top or ac/dc - he's basically been making the same record for over 20 years, but when it's this classic, can you really complain?

#38 "do that...," baby featuring p. diddy. cash money is officially no longer relevant in any way. neither is p. diddy. utterly vile, like "back that azz up" without any sense of humor or - pardon the necessary pun - cheek. for the skank-ass skrippahs only.

#39 "I just wanna be mad," terri clark. country's melissa etheridge, despite any protestations she may make to the contrary - note the pronounced lack of gender-specific pronouns. one of these days she'll come out, hopefully while she's still making hits as hard country dandy as this one.

#40 "satisfaction," eve. dr. dre and scott storch combine forces for a killer, stripped-down track (all mtume-soundin' bass and handclaps, plus a teensy, well-placed string section in the chorus) that does what it's supposed to do precisely: a) moves asses, and b) gives eve room to breathe and flip her distinctive lyrics. we need eve - intelligent and tough, sexy-not-slutty - so be thankful she's around.

#41 "dontchange," musiq. I want to like musiq a lot more than I do; he means so well, writes well, has a creamy, dripping-with-philly-soul voice and all the right influences, but is too much of a sucker for sloooooow ballads, the kind that sell records to your mom. dynamic but not quite future-forward enough.

#42 "you can't hide beautiful," aaron lines. yeah, nashville needs another pretty-boy singer. at least lines has a pleasantly wispy voice and a half-decently-written debut single. we'll see if anyone recalls come 2004.

#43 "all the things she said," t.a.t.u. they're coming, america (and world) - a pair of allegedly teenaged allegedly lesbian allegedly lovers who just happen to make ridiculously ridiculous pop records. their bio alone makes me think of frankie goes to hollywood. the fact that trevor horn's produced some of their 200 km/h in the wrong lane longplayer (including this song) only helps. a catchy-as-fuck, packed-to-the-gills record which may try to win you over with its press clippings but succeeds on its own charms. marvelously horrible video, too.

#44 "cry," faith hill. not much as a country record, but an over-the-top celine-esque triumph as adult pop. and she still has a stunning, big voice.

#45 "how you gonna act like that," tyrese. no one remembers your coke commercial anymore, and your can is far past its sell-by date. sleepy-time, wholly uninspiring r-and-b.

#46 "these days," rascal flatts. if wilson phillips were male and made country records. yeah, it's that bland.

#47 "make it clap," busta rhymes featuring spliff star. as the original already had a kinda-dancehall riddim, it only made sense to do a remix with reggae man-of-the-moment sean paul, and it works. but busta-bus hasn't made a truly great single in over 3 years now ('99's "what's it gonna be?!," in case you're keeping track), which is disappointing. as are the contributions of anyone from the flipmode squad not named rah digga. this would be fine from a new artist (albeit a bit trend-hopping), but is mediocre from one who can and has done so much better such as busta.

#48 "tell me," smilez & southstar. a first-ever appearance in the upper half of the chart for the florida rap duo, full of joie de vivre and fine lines like "you was a classic/like nas and illmatic." they sound like they're enjoying themselves so damned much on this track, how can you not love it? lovely slopey production as well. but who's the studio girl on the chorus?

#49 "when the last time," clipse. it bumps nicely enough, but it's no "grindin'," that's for sure. production fairly nondescript by the neptunes' standards. and I am officially tired of hearing pharrell on the tracks he produces. who the hell he think he is, p. fucking diddy?!

ask and you shall receive, e crunk...

this is a little painful, especially since I had to download some of these against my better judgement, but here goes anyway. I'm blogging this week's top 50 from the billboard hot 100.

#50 "man to man," gary allan. a nice-enough, midtempo twangy country record from one of the hottest guys in music. honestly, with this single I'm more disappointed that there's no accompanying video (so that I can stare at allan) than I am interested in the song itself, which is fairly nondescript by his standards. it's no "right where I need to be," that's for sure.

and so is mister agassi. andre just won his fourth aussie singles title - and his 8th grand slam overall - in ridiculously dominating fashion, dropping only five sets in beating rainer schuettler 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. beautiful as well to see andre beaming like a little kid upon achieving the victory.

yessssss! miss navratilova is a grand slam champion again!

got one of these emails today, from my baby sis, you know how they go. but for informational purposes, figured that rather than bother people with it as an email, I'd just blog it:
... Copy (don't forward) this entire e-mail and paste it in a new e-mail... . The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about those who know you... .

1. What time is it? 10:24pm

2. Name that appears on your Birth Certificate: Thomas Andrew Inskeep

3. Nickname: submeat, Tom-B (familial), Spaz (junior high)

4. Parents names: [deleted due to potential of web stalkers]

5. Number of candles that will appear on your next birthday cake: 33

6. Date you will blow them out: [see #4]

7. Pets: 1 cat (the roomie's), Phoebe

8. Color eyes: Blue

9. Color hair: dark brown

10. Piercing: none

11. Tattooes: none

12. How much do you love your job? lots, excepting management

13. Favorite color: black

14. Home town: North Manchester, Indiana

15. Current address: Norfolk, VA

16. Favorite food: does Pepsi count?

17. Been to Africa: nope

18. Been toilet papering: 8th grade. got caught. sucked.

19. Loved somebody so much that it made you cry: yup.

20. Been in a car accident: yup. Single-car. Airborne after a buddy took a 25mph 90-degree turn at 60. Nearly went through the windshield of a Honda CR-X.

21. Croutons or bacon bits: bacon bits.

22. Sprite or 7 Up: Sprite.

23. Favorite movie: favorite? probably the John Hughes-Molly Ringwald trilogy. Best? Citizen Kane.

24. Favorite Holiday: New Year's Eve

25. Favorite day of the week: Saturday

26. Favorite word or phrase: currently, "Stop playin'!"

27. Favorite toothpaste: Pepdosent w/baking soda

28. Favorite Restaurant: No Frill Grill

29. Favorite Flower: red roses

30. Favorite cola: Pepsi

31. Favorite sport to watch: college basketball

32. Preferred type of ice cream: type? Not flavor?

33. Favorite Sesame Street Character: Ernie

34. Disney or Warner Bros.: Warners.

35. Favorite number: 666 (but not for the reasons you think)

36. When was your last hospital visit? February '95, I think.

38. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 0 (passed the written test, haven't taken the driving test)

39. Who is the last person you got e-mail from? baby sis

40. What store would you choose to max out your credit card? If I had one? Border's or Target.

41. What do you do most often when you are bored? Blog.

42. Name the person that you are friends with who lives the farthest away: gaz

43. Most annoying thing people ask me to do: ??

44. Bedtime: circa midnight.

45. Who will respond the quickest? N/A

46. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond? N/A

47. Favorite all time TV show(s): M*A*S*H

48. Last person you went out to dinner with: Chas and Sid

49. The last person that made you smile: baby sis, right now, on the phone

50. Your favorite pasttime: blogging?

51. Most joyous moment in your life: re-committing myself to Christ, January '97

last sunday, I kind of assumed that the main reason jack nicholson won his golden globe award was because the hollywood foreign press association loves jack - he always gives good quote, is a fun presence, et cetera. and to an extent, that may have been true. but the bottom line is this: he gives what may be the finest leading performance of his career in about schmidt. he completely immerses himself in the role of warren schmidt, an insurance-industry lifer who's left emotionally adrift after his retirement and the sudden death of his wife of 42 years. he pulls off broad comedy and complete pathos in the same performance, and actually does the unthinkable: he makes you forget that he's jack nicholson. much of the credit must go to screenplay by alexander payne and jim taylor, and to payne's note-perfect direction, which takes great care in the film's details: an extreme closeup of nicholson's ankle here, a moment of ambient vacuum cleaner noise there. kathy bates is as fine as advertised in her supporting role, as well - and yes, her nude scene is a jaw-dropper. but make no mistake; about schmidt is jack's film, and he tears into his role as a sad, angry, lost man with relish he hasn't shown in years (c'mon, he was sleepwalking through his last oscar-winner, as good as it gets - which wasn't, by any means). it's a stunner, and there should be no doubt that jack'll win his fourth oscar (and third for best actor) on march 23rd.

p.s. after seeing both films, I'd agree with the globes: yes, about schmidt should've beaten (and did) adaptation for the screenplay prize.

and for the record, I have no idea why I was apparently talking about ja rule in my sleep last night...

before I blog anything else, big big exciting news: no major top 25 men's upsets today, save one. a huge one, as indiana was crushed by purdue 69-47. the black & gold are now 12-4, 4-1 conference. I told y'all they're a team to be reckoned with in the big ten! woo hoo!!!

yay! I finally saw the bf for the first time in 2 weeks.
not yay. he just left, has to work tonight.
yay! supposed to see about schmidt with chas today.
so, overall, yay!

Friday, January 24, 2003

is there no stopping serena williams? she now holds all four grand slam trophies after being taken to 3 sets by venus in the aussie final before winning 7-6, 3-6, 6-4. she got her "serena slam." she's amazing. not to take anything away from the other players on the wta tour - and I'm very interested to hear my resident tennis expert bob's take on this - but right now, serena williams is women's tennis.

two major college hoops contests this weekend: purdue vs. indiana 2: this time it's at mackey, and the big-time arizona-kansas contest. but here's the really important basketball news: the return of's cinderella watch! less than two months until the madness begins...

if you haven't recently - or ever, and in which case, what the hell's wrong with you?! - go read little. yellow. different., and then go vote for ernie for weblog of the year in the 2003 bloggies. I said, do it! now!

can't recall, unfortunately, who drew it to my attention, but I picked up the new issue of wired yesterday, and anyone who's interested in the present and future of online music (and file-sharing) must read it. fascinating stuff.

update - and it's good news - on the thacker story (thanks to jenn).

excellent blog just came to my attention: bj's gay porno-crazed ramblings, which often involve reviews of classic '70s gay porn. seriously hot stuff here, and definitely not office-safe. you've been warned.

oh, and definitely check hit-or-miss' glbt journal and weblog portal. days upon days of queerblogs to discover, y'all.

aussie open news: roddick's done (which means another australian title for andre), martina navratilova is gunning for an amazing 57th grand slam title - she and leander paes are in the mixed doubles final, and venus & serena won the women's doubles championship. women's final tonight (eastern time, u.s.), men's final saturday night.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

spinner's "80s alternative" channel is playing big audio dynamite's "c'mon every beatbox." I heart spinner. also heard in the last half-hour: lloyd cole, tones on tail, talking heads' "stay up late," dead milkmen's "bitchin' camaro," and roxy music's "the space between." this is the shit, y'all.

hope it's not too difficult for the record companies to find another bitch, hilary. you've served them well, now fuck off.

even weirder than busta + leann: justin + flaming lips.

of note on this snow day: the price is right still rocks after all these years. need reminders of some of their 70-plus pricing games? here's a list.

bob barker = dick clark - hair dye. neither of them will ever die; kids born 50 years from now will be playing "plinko" with bob and counting down to the new year in times square with dick. god bless america, or something.

I prefer las ketchup's "asereje" in spanish. I also prefer their website in spanish, even though I don't understand a word of it apart from "agua" and "la vida loca."

gaz is still batting 1.000 with grand theft audio, his quarterly compilation series. the latest edition, "fall 2002" (he never claimed to be punctual), is out, and bangs like crazy with some fine-ass (mostly indie) rock. you, too, can get a copy; just hit his site up and click on the gta link under the heading "other content of questionable value." I'm especially fond of alkaline trio's "fuck you aurora" and no knife's "the red bedroom," both added to the just-updated hitlist (which is still topped by liam lynch, with smilez & southstar coming up fast behind).

just 8 days after pat summitt became the first, texas coach jody conradt became the second women's coach to notch 800 career victories as her longhorns upset texas tech 69-58. and in the I-couldn't-make-this-up irony department, who'll be the next coach, men's or women's to get that incredible 800th victory? texas tech's bob knight - he's at 798 and counting.

speaking of the men's side, duke lost their second acc game in a row, falling 80-71 at nc state. and while arizona wasn't looking ahead to saturday (in beating az state), kansas might've been (getting upset by colorado 60-59). florida, kentucky, maryland, and louisville were all easy winners - and how well are those four teams playing right now, eh?

my boilers lost their first big 10 game of the season, 75-62 at illinois, and I got a rare opportunity to see them on television in the process. it was a good game, and (to haul out one of the hoariest sports cliches around) not as close as the final score. well, except for the fact that the illini held purdue without a field goal for the final 6-plus minutes of the game. purdue's d really is tenacious, but that hurts on the other end - by late in the game, the boilers were so damned beat from chasing dee brown around the court all game that they just couldn't hit their shots - even when they were wide-open. purdue's still going to have a say in who wins the big 10, however, and who knows? the way they've been playing, they might have more than that to say. on the same night, iowa fell for the first time in conference as well, 74-61 at wisconsin. and then there's the x-factor, sitting alone atop the big 10: michigan is 5-0 conference and has won 12 in a row after taking down minnesota 75-63 in ann arbor. the conference announced yesterday what it would do in the event of the wolverines winning both the regular-season and conference tournament titles, since they've put themselves on ncaa probation this season in the wake of the "fab five" scandal: the regular-season runner-up would get the big 10's automatic bid. what's interesting here is it would end up making the tournament irrelevant. now, sure, we've got fields to plant and rows to hoe before that happens, but it's an interesting scenario to consider, and one which could have implications for who from the conference is dancing in march... stay tuned.

ladies and gentlemen, for the fourth consecutive grand slam final, the williams sisters. and perhaps more surprisingly, for the second consecutive grand slam final, mr. agassi.

anyone for more evidence as to how f-ing out of touch g.w. is? he's now appointed a man "who has characterized AIDS as the "gay plague," to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS." yeah, bush cares about us, sure he does. nothing like a "kindler, gentler" homophobe... [link thanks to the green[e]house effect.]

snow day 2: electric boogaloo! bob said last night that jenn and I can't expect a snow day every week. au contraire, mon frere... [insert really big, cheesy grin here. and for the record, I'm sorry for all of my local pals who do have to work today. but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy my second snow day out of the last 5 days.]

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

upon pointing out the humor in the williams sisters each playing a belgian in the aussie semis to bob, he replied, "oh my god, it's the fed[eration] cup!" one of the many reasons why I love bob (though he needs to update his blog!).

in other fabulous news from downunder, root for andre to win if you want to see mrs. agassi play again.

quote of the week: vince gill onstage in nashville last tuesday, on his wife, pop-gospel star amy grant:
"[She's the] jealous type. She’s been known to have a few beers, and she might kick your ass.”

speaking of, vince's new single, which he premiered on the mca awards back in november, is "the next big thing." now, vince knows a little about being on both sides of this conundrum, which is why he's the perfect choice to sing this tongue-in-cheek boogiefied lil' number. ['course, it could also be that he wrote it, as he did his entire forthcoming album.] "there's always somebody/waitin' in the wings/thinkin' that they're gonna be the next big thing," vince reminds us, and of course he's right. commercially, he's not the force he used to be, which is a good thing; I think he's finding the lack of pressure to sell sell sell refreshing. not that he hasn't always done his own thing - he has, which is one of the reasons for his longevity in nashville - but over the last half-decade or so, vince's really kinda cut loose. this is a country song in name only. "big thing" is a rockabilly-ish song complete with tasty guitar pickin' and an almost vegas-y horn section. ray charles should cover this immediately, basically (though I'm not sure I can hear ray singing the words "I'll lose a little weight and get a belly-button ring"). best single vince has released in some time. it's good to have you back, guy.

"the op/ed page for virginia's new economy" is how bacon's rebellion refers to itself. damned fine stuff to sink your teeth into regardless of your location or political orientation. even better if you are, in fact, a resident of the commonwealth.

zealots, generally, aren't attractive, no matter what's the object of their zealousness. and nyc mayor bloomberg is officially an anti-smoking zealot. I mean, really. you're going to arrest keith richards for smoking?! your administration has nothing better to do than to haul keef into the paddy for having a fag?? sharon stone's character in basic instinct is starting to look like a soothsayer: "what are you gonna do? arrest me for smoking?" in new york city, apparently, the answer's yes.

daily kos on how louisiana senator mary landrieu re-energized the democratic party. very solid arguments, well stated. plus, you know, he's right.

whether you're pro-choice or pro-life (but isn't everybody pro-life, really?), you need to read chris's thoughts on the 30th anniversary of roe v. wade. whichever side of the debate you stand on, to me the central thing to remember is that it's not inherently about abortion - it's about choice. and to chris, as ever, a tip of the hat for his beautiful, eloquent, genuine writing.

what I like most about this indiana team, as I've been saying all season, is their toughness. well, and tom coverdale, but let's leave that alone for now and focus on their play. on the court, people, on the court! please, don't get me started...

the odds are good: how great would (or could) a roddick-agassi aussie final be? roddick's certainly got the tenacity after a 21-19 - let that sink in for a moment, that's 21-19 - fifth set in the quarters.

largely missed-cum-ignored in the midst of the last few years' tigermania is the fact that pound for pound, comparably, annika sorenstam's been even better and more awe-inspiring on the lpga tour than tiger on the pga. and now she's setting her sights on the pga tour. maybe this year sports illustrated can name her sportswoman of the year, only a little late (much like they did with lance this year - what, one post-cancer tour de france victory wasn't enough? two? three, for pete's sake? oh, well, four's pretty impressive, I imagine them saying). sorenstam nearly inspires me to take up golf. I said "nearly," folks, let's not get carried away.

marvelously heady yet cut-to-the-bone clear as well: the blinding new musicblog that was a naughty bit of crap. if you love simon or marcello, this is right up your alley.

it's been over a week since we've heard from lil missy mack, but fear not: here's what she thought of 8 mile (just out in the u.k.).

in the I-don't-care-how-uncool-this-makes-me department: yay! a new steely dan album may 6th! woo hoo!

busta rhymes and leann rimes, together at last? the automator is one sick mofo, which is (part of the reason) why he's so sublimely great.

"chilling" is right. need more reasons to hate the riaa? look no fuhrer - er, further.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

"super tuesday" recap: not only did the irish get a much-needed win (on the road, no less), but all the ranked teams in action tonight won - except (and it's a big "except") for rapidly collapsing alabama (now 2-3 sec).

how 'bout a pair of all-american finals down under in the australian open? pam shriver and malivai washington can see it. so can I. which means the fourth consecutive "sister slam" final (what more could you want, really?), and - dare we say it? - hello again, andre!

today was proof that I do things besides blog. back to semi-normalcy tomorrow.

hbo's oz is, flat out, one of the best dramas on television. tautly written, gorgeously acted, and always keeping you guessing. [ok, ok, and there's the sex... beecher and keller are the sexiest couple on tv.] what I find most amazing about the show, however, might be that this season, three of the cast members are goddesses of musical theatre: rita moreno, betty buckley, and patti lupone. and now there's word that joel grey will be stopping in for a two-episode story arc! yay. [the show's website is a wonder, as well.]

Monday, January 20, 2003

special before-bed "big monday" recap: after seeing the replay, it's obvious - miami should've received a technical for celebrating a win with 0.5 seconds left in their 77-76 upset of uconn tonight. but they weren't, and they get the "w." [and connecticut never should've let it get to that, even with darius rice's awesome 43-point performance.] texas tech, meanwhile, played a great, gutty game in norman tonight - until it got to overtime. their last 2:30 was, well, not so good. the kids just weren't making good decisions, and hollis price and co. capitalized on it (though I like the way they clean the glass), and then for them to not foul with 14 seconds left was ridiculous. bob knight looked disgusted, and he should've, after the red raiders gave it away to oklahoma, 69-64 (ot).

ever wonder what it would sound like if ween did jingles for pizza hut? well, now you can find out - surprisingly, dean and gene were comissioned to write and record new jingle for the pizza behemoth. unsurprisingly (I mean, really - it's ween!), they were never used, but you can download two of them now. muchos gracias to fluxblog for the heads-up.

now here's some mid-major lovin', but remember kids, it comes with a modicum of pressure as well: creighton has just been ranked top 10 in both polls. as they should be.

yay! it's daily kos' first '03 edition of cattle call 2004.

finished orland outland's different people in a marathon I-can't-put-this-down reading session lasting until 330am saturday morning. stellar, beautiful, and probably the best new novel I've read in the last 12 months. yes, you have a fair idea of how the story's going to resolve itself before you get there - but what you don't know is how the protagonists are getting there, and when. so the plot's compelling, as are the main characters. but the star here is the sheer quality of outland's writing, something I'd never seen of him before in his previous (albeit much more comic, lighthearted) fiction. take, for instance, this paragraph:

"Even in these moments, when we hold our breath in amazement, our minds work on. The process of turning chemicals into words is suspended for a delicious moment and we're free from, if not the burden of consciousness, at least the burden of carrying that burden by ourselves. They say there are always two, the lover and the loved, that what goes on in one mind is not what goes on in the other's, but in a process of magic or grace or coincidence; in that moment there was one feeling in both their minds, one word that came to both their minds to sum it up: Finally."

outland, obviously, is not the most economical writer; after my own heart, he embellishes his language (but never unnecessarily, never making it flowery for its own sake) like a painter adding his own, unique touches to his work. he has such a knack for this type of storytelling, it's amazing to me that it's taken him this long to do so (his previous novel, every man for himself, was a prototypical vaguely-cheesy kensington title; prior to that he wrote some a series of mysteries and some nonfiction). his words simply flow, effortlessly, nearly magically, from his pen (I prefer to assume that most writers of good fiction still compose initially by hand, even as I recognize the picture as perhaps outdated for some). different people is the gold standard, the one to beat. a stunning achievement, and worthy of every plaudit that gets thrown at it.

another great blog discovered via the great tom ewing of nylpm, this time (love the title!) slap dee barnes. excellent song reviews.

all things being equal (i.e., physical strength), right now I'd take both the duke and connecticut women's hoops squads over their male counterparts. which leads nicely into a look at the week ahead.

+tonight's premier "big monday" game is texas tech at oklahoma. don't assume, sooner fans - the general knows that to compete in the big 12, you've gotta win on the road, and after last week's blowout at k-state you'd better believe he'll have the troops prepared.
+tuesday: notre dame at providence: what's happened to the irish? they need this one.
+a pair of dandies on wednesday, as unc hosts maryland (each coming off upset victories, unc over uconn and md, of course, over duke - someone's gotta give) and purdue has a tough road game at illinois (illini looking for redemption after losing two in a row; purdue looking to prove they're for real in the big 10 race).
+and on thursday, it's back to the acc for wake forest at virginia - both teams need this game. virginia, a team better than they sometimes look, needs it a lot more (1-3 conference).

finally, can I hear some love for creighton's kyle korver? right now, this missouri valley conference stud - '03's dan dickau (i.e. mid-major star headed for the bigs) - has my player of the year vote. without him, creighton is clearly not 15-1.

and since you're already thinking about the greatest sport in the world, division one men's college basketball, why not check out the latest edition of joe lunardi's bracketology, and read his comments from last week's bracket banter? it'll do you good, like a big bowl of oatmeal.

a good reminder of how corporate america can help cripple small towns: "losing k-mart will hurt more in exmore," an ever-excellent piece of local reportage from today's virginian-pilot. I've got a personal connection here, too, as this is the only major retailer anywhere near ronnie (who, ever on top of these things, blogged this last week).

do you like feeling poptastic? are you british, or at least love british pop (which is most definitely not the same thing as britpop)? [not required, but it may help your understanding.] then not only do you need to read the blissfully glossy popjustice every day, you need to subscribe to the newly-born popjustice newsletter. because it's tres yummy. [this is not a paid endorsement, fyi, just an honest exortation.]

I should probably warn y'all: even though I still haven't gotten the cd sets done for my top 80 of the '80s nor for my top 90 of the '90s, yes, I've been struck by the inspiration bug yet again. I've started work on a master list for my, gulp, top 70 of the '70s. and yes, I promise this will be the last such project (I was born in 1970, so I'm not attempting anything prior to that). already on the list: gino vannelli, the jam, danny o'keefe, and barry white, amongst many others. what fun!

in case you needed another reason to love liam lynch's "united states of whatever," watch the video. it appears to have been made for $100 with a video toaster. marvelous. [link via hotboy jockhomo.]

new college sports blog to be aware of and read (that's kinda like saying "songs to learn and sing"): condredge's acolytes. link via the best sportsblog in existence, eric mcerlain's off wing opinion, a daily must-read.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

didn't blog sunday 'cause I currently have no motivation. probably needed a day off, anyway. smoking too much, watched the golden globe awards (awards for chicago = good, nothing for far from heaven = bad), listening to lots of wendy and lisa's first, eponymous album (to be blogged soon), in a really generically "blah" mood. don't care.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

madonna goes electro, according to "reports." bet she could show fischerspooner a thing or two...

what a day in college hoops! as good as advertised, y'all, with six of the top 11 teams getting upset (based on rankings, not home-court or such). besides soon-to-be-former #1 duke, the losers were uconn, illinois (who've just dropped two in a row), notre dame, 'bama, and missouri. meanwhile, soon-to-be #1 'zona didn't play their best game against ucla, but still handed the bruins their worst loss in pauley pavillion history - now, that's ugly. and soon-to-be #2 (but sure to get some first-place votes) pittsburgh looked damned good stopping syracuse's win streak at 11. everyone else in the top 25 who was supposed to win, did.

and it didn't look very pretty, but purdue went to 3-0 in the conference and got their all-important first road win in the process at penn state. yeah, I know, it's penn state, but the black-and-gold faithful - of which I'm proudly one - will take it anyway.

also on the smiths front, read this fine-ass interview with johnny marr from magnet. if you have the new issue, read this anyway - it's about 3x as long as the printed version, and includes this gorgeous memory of marr's time in the pretenders which once again proves indisputably that chrissie hynde is a fucking rock god:
"I met her at a time when I was fairly battered by the Smiths split and the things going on in my world with the media. And the manipulation of the media by certain people to make me look like the bad guy. I suddenly found myself hanging out with this person and I’m going, “Oh, things are tough. I’m bruised. Oh, I left my band. Oh, it’s really raw.” And her vibe was, “Well, two of my fucking band died. And plus, I don’t even really know who your band are. Let’s go see some life.” It was an amazing thing to be around."

simon goddard has written what looks to be a ravishing book, particularly for smiths/morrissey obsessives, as it details painstakingly every song in the smiths' catalog (and even some which have never been released). it's titled the smiths: the songs that saved your life (how painfully accurate), and the author was kind enough to give an exclusive interview. fascinating reading, even if you're not much of a fan (to which I can only express befuddlement, but anyway). [note for american readers: the book was published in december by reynolds & hearn in the u.k.; they apparently have a u.s. distributor and are working on importing copies to the states. note for british readers: lucky bastards.]

here's an absolutely perfect example, in just one sentence, of why I'm loving orland outland's different people so much:
"And the places that lured him were not sunny parks where innocent kisses were exchanged, but darker, unknown places where the whole purpose of putting your hand in the flame was to get burned."
dammit, this is a great novel, maybe the best I've read in the last 12 months. it's so "that good" - but it's even finer.

paul, you just made my day - and, likely, my week. I'm bursting with joy now; I feel utterly effervescent. thank you!

why is there no pic with this article?? damned right james blake is sexy.

update: here are some pics of blake's sleeveless look.

they did it. congrats, lady huskies.

they did it, too. duke loses to the terps for the second consecutive year as the #1 team in the country... and then there were no unbeatens in division one.

I've got to disagree with most of my fellow musicbloggers out there in the blogosphere: common's electric circus is a disappointment. a big one. [damn, I'm let down by this one and missy's under construction, and am underwhelmed by the roots' phrenology, most folks' top three hiphop longplayers of '02... well, at least it was a decent year for one-off singles.]

two tracks stand out. one is the neptunes-produced single "come close" (featuring mary j. blige), which I know is the album's dud to many. to me, it's a refreshingly understated 'tunes track, a uncommon common love song with a buttery chorus (you expected anything less from the queen mjb?) - not to mention the irresistable line "the pimpin'/may have to die with you." the other's the following track, "new wave." this is - well, it ain't your big bro's hiphop, lemme put it that way. it features laetitia sadler of stereolab - yes, stereolab! - and actually has a vaguely 'lab-ish feel to its chorus, all carnival-ride pump-organ and sadler's vox floating above the ether. the verses, on the other hand, feature a menacing piano grind backing up common's urgent rapping. but then with each chorus, all goes light and airy. the contrast works a charm.

"I got a right ta," the other neptunes production on circus, has a vintage black rock feel to it, complete with fuzz guitar and four-on-the-floor drums. unfortunately, it has none of the swing nor the frisson of p-funk or the isleys, and comes off as completely leaden. toss a faux-swing feel together with jill scott singing in an obnoxiously high, breath-y register (oh, and common) and you get "I am music." the album's worst impulses can be summed up, however, by "jimi was a rock star" (call the papers). it's meant, I assume, as a tribute to hendrix (as is the album's title). it ends up as a muddled, directionless mess, eight-plus minutes of squalling quitars, vile vocal processing, and common's squeeze erykah badu screaming as if she's janis joplin - a rather vulgar stew.

those are just three of the album's lowlights. in a way akin to nickel creek's this side, common's trying to push the boundaries of his art form (or ignore them altogether). but he doesn't entirely succeed, in his case largely due to there being far too many cooks hovering over this pot. common himself is focused - but electric circus isn't.

y'know, I thought I linked to parallax view - a great all-purpose pop-cult blog - months ago, but apparently, I didn't. sorry, dead kenny. consider the situation rectified.

alongside the new will self novel, I'm working my way through orland outland's different people, a diamond in the rough of gay fiction. it contains some of the most purely beautiful, natural writing I've read in months. a full report/review will come upon its completion.

steve zahn, what happened? where did it all go so wrong?

today's the day: uconn goes for the record books, playing for their 55th consecutive victory (against georgetown at home), which'd be an ncaa women's division one record. and they're having all of this season's success with only one returning starter from last season's 39-0 champs! love him or hate him, you've got to respect coach geno auriemma.

last night, I picked up a copy after all these years of the smithereens' 1995 blown to smithereens: the best of. utterly fucking superb from start to finish with nary a let-up. for the ten years ending in '95, the smithereens were (and are) one of my favorite bands. they made one burnished-sad power-pop/rock gem after another, starting with the indie beauty and sadness ep in '83 (er, I guess that'd be 12 years - anywho, I didn't hear that until after catching on to their especially for you debut full in '86). one of the few overtly '60s-influenced bands I've ever really loved, the smithereens were equally in debt to the brill building tradition of songwriting (best lyric, from "a girl like you": "first love/heartbreak/tough luck/big mistake/what else can you do?") and the who's tradition of whomp!. there was never anything particularly fancy there (apart, at time, from pat dinizio's stunning lyrics of regret and heartbreak) - they were a classic meat'n'potatoes guitars-bass-drums quartet who simply did their business, had a beer with you, and went on. my personal fave, '88's green thoughts, is represented here by three songs, all tiny masterpieces: "only a memory," "house we used to live in," and "drown in my own tears," the last an absolute triumph of beefy riffs and sad-but-not-angsty words ("maybe I won't be afraid to love somebody new/maybe I can open up my heart, then I won't drown in my own tears"). it nearly makes me tear up. the greatest thing about the smithereens, however, was their uncanny knack for marrying such downcast lyrics with upbeat music - you're sad, but it doesn't feel so bad. in fact, you kinda feel a little better for hearing 'em. and that's worth plenty.

Friday, January 17, 2003

swung by barnes & noble tonight, and picked up the new ish of magnet with tom petty on the cover. really, how can you lose? whether you care for petty musically or not, he's one of the last rock stars who actually stands for something; it's refreshing as hell to see him on the cover of a mag which usually features indie stars such as bob pollard and spiritualized (they're good too, don't misunderstand me). now personally, I also happen to think that over the last 25+ years, petty (and his merry band of heartbreakers) has created a true canon of rock'n'roll which we'll still be listening to in a further quarter-century: "the waiting." "free fallin'." "you got lucky." "I won't back down." "mary jane's last dance." I could go on (catch me in the right mood, and I will) - my point is that no other bigtime american rocker (solo division), save springsteen and mellencamp, has had such a solid string of gems over the same amount of time. classic american rock is what he is. chevy should've used petty, and not bob fucking seger, for their endless ad campaign. the beauty is that he would've turned 'em down flat.

what the hell is a madonna song titled "american life" going to sound like? it's the forthcoming first single from her new album, due in april. yay! 20 years on, and I'm still a fan.

the pacers were 9-2 over their last 11 games going into their contest with boston now they're 9-3 over their last 12. but y'know what? they're still tied for the eastern conference lead, so I can deal with a loss.

shaq may have won the battle with yao, but he lost the war. [steve francis. 44 points. 'nuff said.]

"Purdue: The Boilermakers (10-3) weren't supposed to be beating teams like Michigan State. At least, not as soundly as 72-60, at home. But, with plenty of Big Ten heavyweights still to come, Purdue could be a different story, or even better one, come the third-quarter report." - andy katz on the boilers, from his second quarter status report, a must-read for college hoops fan(atic)s.

saw adaptation with chas tonight. most everyone I know's been raving about this film as if it were jesus and they were one of the 12 disciples. and yes, it's good - but it's not that good. the centerpiece of the film is supposed to be charlie kaufman's script, about charlie kaufman writing a script. unfortunately, however, kaufman seems mightily impressed with his own cleverness, and eventually starts getting annoying (plus, the last 1/2 hour is a total cop-out). the performances are fine: chris cooper sinks his teeth rabidly into his role as orchid thief john laroche, and nicolas cage returns to his stellar self in the dual role of charlie and donald (his fictitious brother) kaufman. meryl streep, getting raves for playing a sexed-up, drug-taking susan orleans, is good, but not devastatingly so. and so is adaptation - yes, I "got it," and yes, it's quite clever, but perhaps a little too much for its own good.

thanks to b. of perpetual.motion for reminding me of herb alpert's '87 collabo with janet, lisa keith, and jam & lewis, "making love in the rain." downloaded it, along with the album's other smash, the mostly-janet-voxed "diamonds" (jam & lewis at their peak, hitting that '80s mechanical-r-and-b thang hard, a full 15 years before jerkins did the same for brandy on "what about us"). damn, I'd forgotten how much I loved not just these two singles, but the entire keep your eye on me full - alpert in a perfectly-fitting jam & lewis-designed straightjacket akin to the one nile rodgers slapped on miss ross on 1980's diana.. he's never sounded better. ace as hell.

weekend (hoops) update:
+first of all, read jay bilas' previews of syracuse at pitt, duke at maryland, and notre dame at kentucky.
+then get ready for some nice big ten matchups saturday. purdue should get their first road win at penn state, and michigan state has a tough road contest at minnesota - but the big game is illinois at indiana, two fairly evenly-matched teams both battling for the big ten crown. the word we use in the hoosier state for a game like this is "barnburner."
+in the big 12, there's a dandy of a game in missouri at oklahoma state, while out west, lute olson's boys will try to bang another nail into steve lavin's coffin as 'zona visits pauley pavillion. back on the east coast, xavier's got a game at umass - never an easy place to get a win.
+in mid-major land, butler hosts youngstown state and marshall visits kent state. creighton, meanwhile, takes their 14-1 mark on the road to southern illinois, in a bang-up matchup between the two teams sitting atop the missouri valley conference with 5-0 marks.

as kiss taught us, lick it up, folks. it's only right, now.

well, we got the snow as advertised. and a snow day to boot! awwright! it's gorgeous outside, really pretty.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

southside callbox issue 12 is up, and it's a special issue themed around bootlegs and mashups. joy! [thanks to nate, who contributes an excellent essay, for bringing this to my attention.]

in other news, the lady boilers just keep rollin', rollin', rollin'. like their keady-coached counterparts they're still unbeaten at mackey, after tonight's big win over penn state, 73-66.

sorry 'bout the lack of blogging this evening; went to the coworker's for dinner, cooked by the roommate. the ex and the carolinian were there, as well. the bf is up on the shore. I miss him.

precip-wise, we've been getting pounded here in norfolk for the last 2 hours: heavy, wet snow mixed at times with sleet. the streets are all slushy, and it may come down like this all night. the latest forecast is calling for 3-6" of snow accumulation overnight. which hopefully means one thing: snow day! woo hoo!

as if electric six's "danger! high voltage" isn't sublime enough on its own, now comes the les rhythmes digitales "soulchild booty mix," which takes "danger!" to its logical conclusion, turning this perfect piece of rock-disco junk into faux-funky disco trash. very '85. very tasty. finger-lickin' good!

two hot hiphop tracks out right now sample the same source - sadly, I can't place it, but it's the snare-and-bass tattoo underpinning both ja rule featuring ashanti's "mesmerize" and "tell me" by new duo smilez & southstar. the commonality shows up for ja for what he's becoming: fat and happy. he's simply coasting on his success, neither pushing himself nor his records ("let's see, if I do another duet with my girl ashanti, it's a guaranteed million-seller, right?"). smilez & southstar, on the other hand, are hungry and fresh. smilez - a huge rarity in the rap game as an asian rapper getting a hit - reminds me of lord tariq (remember his steely dan-sampling "deja vu" with peter gunz?), only more interesting. his partner southstar is less impressive, but provides a solid vocal counterpoint. the production on "tell me" is vibrant and up, vibrant with life and love; "mesmerize" is simply another irv gotti joint, complete with all that implies. smilez & southstar are a pair to watch in 2003, no doubt.

not only is rebbie jackson (pronounced "ree-bee") the forgotten jackson, she's got the best, most unfortunately forgotten jackson single, "centipede." no, she's no janet - or michael. or even jermaine. but she's a solid singer and performer in her own right, and '84's "centipede" showed that in spades. it's a jittery, staccato track with lush jackson-esque vocals and plush keybs on the chorus, and sounds deliciously edgy and nervous. a lost gem.

as promised, the iowa-illinois recap.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

special early wednesday hoops recap:
+first of all, it's starting to look like duke really is this good. they beat virginia 104-93 at cameron indoor, but the game was actually much closer than that. the cavs may just be 1-2 in conference play, but they're 10-4 overall and are a very good team. duke was simply that much better tonight - and perhaps all season?
+can you believe that mississippi state is 0-3 sec? they are, after being beat by alabama 68-62. who's gonna step up and stop the bleeding? pat forde, btw, has written a nice companion to shelman's piece - forde's discusses the night-in, night-out struggle in the sec this season.
+in the big ten, the hoosiers bounced back to beat northwestern 71-57, while iowa proved that they're a very legitmate conference threat, upsetting the illini 68-61. why aren't the hawkeyes ranked?! [something tells me they will be next week.] [note: game recap unavailable at press time; to be posted thursday morning.]
+ol' bow tie himself, mount st. mary's coach jim phelan, will announce thursday his decision to retire at season's end. he has the most victories of any active college coach, 824 and counting.
+and speaking of victories, one day after the phenomenal pat summitt notched her 800th, geno's girls made a record of their own. with their "w" over seton hall, the lady huskies have now tied the alltime women's record, winning 54 straight. sole possession of the mark could come saturday at home vs. georgetown.

y'know, I really don't know if this is good or bad. yeah, it'd be nice to see it back, but only if it could actually do something interesting musically. yes, that means no metallica headlining. but I also don't wanna see it limping along pathetically. I'm semi-resigned to the corporate sponsorship part, sadly.

"dizzying lineup of stars"? oh, no, that doesn't sound like it was ripped straight from a press release...

thanks to the ever-brilliant marcello carlin for the link. he's one of my favorite crits, and bloggers. deep, rich, meaty writing. you really should be thankful for his blog.

wow. first "freak like me," now this? damn, he's good. [link via nylpm.]

run, don't walk, music lovers: new consumer guide from christgau.

the bf redisgned his blog. it's pretty.
and if the eastern shore gets the snow being forecast for thursday/friday, and I can't see him this weekend, I am gonna be pissed.

if you came of age in the '80s (especially to college radio), and you don't feel old, you will after you read paul's latest missive.

sports fans, I present the michigan state spartans. picked by many to be a potential final four team and win the big ten, they're now 9-6 and 1-2 in conference play, after getting beaten by my purdue boilermakers last night, 72-60. purdue? not expected to do much this season? oh, they're only 10-3, 2-0 conference, and 9-0 at home. damned right I'm gloating.

while I'm on the topic, please read jeff shelman's piece on the rough-and-tumble, any team, any night nature of the big ten. fine stuff. and true as hell.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

ask and I shall receive, I guess... at the cusp of 2003, go home productions posted a new mashup involving j.t.'s "like I love you," while noting that it also worked nicely with scritti politti's "absolute." I, and apparently many others, asked for it to come to fruition. eureka! it has: "like I absolutely love you". and yes, it's just as marvelous as I would've hoped, meaning quite.

trixie has mid-week uk chart figures. where does she get them? why is she so poptastic?

well, based on the pedigree of those involved, dylan's new flick could be worth seeing. then again, it could be another hearts of fire.

finally, an "essential" album that really does look essential (and read the article, folks - this isn't cashing in; it was already in the works).


sorry about the lack of a "big monday" update this morning; ran out of time before work. oklahoma state upset #5 oklahoma on a shot that shouldn't've counted (and stifling defense on the part of both teams, which actually made for a somewhat boring game), and as a coworker said, quinn snyder got his hair messed up as syracuse won their 11th straight, upending mizzou.

also from the sports world today: the top seeds were pushed to their limits downunder, miami's mcgahee and andre johnson are going to the draft - but peyton's little bro isn't, and tonight, pat summitt will likely become the first women's basketball coach to win 800 games as the vols take on depaul. [for those wondering, bob knight and jody conradt are each at 797.]

yes, serena looked awfully rusty today. but beware, ladies on her side of the draw: I don't expect it to happen again. today's match may have been a wake-up call for the world #1, and I believe she's going to slice'n'dice her way through the rest of the field. 'cause she wants to win the australian open - and get what she calls the "serena slam" - more than anyone else right now. who's gonna beat her?

Monday, January 13, 2003

it's official: this week, missy elliot has tied foreigner's infamous #2 record (page about 3/4 of the way down) - 10 weeks at #2 without hitting the top. ironically, "waiting for a girl like you" is the only song of theirs I like, too.

for whoever found me searching for north manchester, indiana bars, I recommend the inn, in the 200 block of north walnut street (near the post office, just north of the old sheller hotel). cheap, strong drinks, fine service, and damned good fried foods. yeah, it's a little on the redneck side - but they're mostly hospitable rednecks, especially if you're a good tipper and don't try to start fights. good jukebox, too. you bet your ass I'll stop in for a whiskey next time I'm in town.

no mention of charmed? bastards. [and for the record, I've no idea why buffy's ratings are dropping - it's having a really great year.]

while I still wish 2pac hadn't been so enraptured by the thug life - I think he might still be with us if he hadn't been - his latest back-from-the-dead single, "thugz mansion" (featuring nas), is prime stuff in its acoustic version (a "new york version" appears on nas' latest full-length, and sucks - most of the song's poignancy is gutted by the contempo production). nas, notably, seems to've rediscovered his lyrical voice in the last few years, and has returned to the top of the lyricists' heap. eerily, this is another 2pac track talking about death and the afterlife (akin to "I ain't mad atcha" in that regard) - but it's more thoughtful, and less fatalistic than much of pac's similar oeuvre. the fact that "mansion"'s instrumentation is nothing but an acoustic guitar lends an intimacy to the track, and brings its lyrics into starker relief than you find in most rap. fortunately, 'pac and nasir's rhymes do them justice. stellar, simple hiphop from two giants of the form.

the brit nominations are out, with (no surprise, really) ms. dynamite and the streets leading the way with four nods apiece, including best british album. one category stands out in its hideousness, however: best british single. you've got atomic kitten's crap blondie remake, liberty x (who're okay), and not only one will young crapfest but two from gareth gates! I ask you, I implore you, where is sugababes' "freak like me" in this category?! but still, can't complain too much - and they're a lot bloody better than the fookin' grammys.

the week ahead in college hoops:
+ucla's steve lavin on his way out (not this week, in all likelihood, but a big enough story to lead with)
+big monday features mizzou at surprising syracuse and a game I'll let flyovercountry's chris cotner preview: "Bedlam tonight. Coming off a big win against UConn, can the gritty, tough, blue collar Sooners win at storied Gallagher-Iba Arena against instate rival OSU? We will know in about 5 hours."
+super tuesday's got michigan state at purdue (can the boilers keep defending mackey?), pittsburgh at west virginia (tougher-than-you-think road game for the panthers), and kentucky at vandy ('bilt coming off their huge win over 'bama, can they do it again?).
+the best slate of midweek games is likely wednesday's, and precious few will be televised nationally, sadly. you've got a pair of could-be-barn-burners in the big ten in illinois at iowa (can self's kids keep it up?) and minnesota at wisconsin for starters. mississippi state at 'bama is potentially big, real big. and then a pair of dandy acc matchups: virginia at duke and maryland at wake (still singing from the spanking coach k's crew gave 'em last night).
I'll preview the weekend before we get there. and in the interest of fairness and disclosure, I got some pointers from andy katz's "games to watch".

also: ready for your weekly hit of bracketology? joe lunardi kicks ass.

thanks to when ur a clone... for:
+the heads-up on crabwalk's cd mix of the month club. what a stellar idea. I'll let you know how it comes across in execution.
+the high praise. c'mon, it's just a blog! but thanks bunches, sweetheart.

yay! jennifer capriati? aussie open? buh-bye.

if you love the uk singles charts - and really, who doesn't, except for the ocassional snobbish indiekid? - you'll love the uk top 40 hit database (link via new blogroll addition when ur a clone... - she's an absolute british pop, and dance, and chart, fanatic - and she loves buffy! rock on, girl).

Sunday, January 12, 2003

and one more thing: the washington post has a very tasty "elections 2004" page up on their site. I highly recommend you acquaint yourselves with it; there may, in fact, be a quiz later.

before I retire for the evening, allow me to draw your attention to two major news stories from this weekend, one from the world of business - aol time warner's chairman is resigning - and one from politics - illinois' outgoing governor commuting all death sentences. both are going to have major reverberations across their respective landscapes, I think.

and not that you needed reminding that supreme court justice scalia is a teensy bit on the conservative side of the aisle, but this just further cements it. and concerns me a bit, as it should you as well. the supremes, as I like to refer to the court, have the ability to have more impact on how we live our daily lives than the president and congress, combined. that's why presidential elections particularly are so important - 'cause they're who appoint supremes. congressional elections are likewise important - 'cause they're who approve 'em.

in case you were wondering, and live in the southeast united states, or delaware, or arizona, or xian, china (?!), the best cheese pizza I've had in a very long time is made by zero's.

'tis apparently the season for redesigning blogs: first xrrf, now the rub (oooh... pretty!).

2002 part II: the challenge. as if you need yet another reason to ride matos' jock.

if anyone can pull it off, tarantino can. besides, quentin + uma has to = good shit, right? [thanks to nate for the heads-up.]

woo hoo! 200 hits in one day! thanks, everyone, whether you're here on purpose or by accident. sit and rest a while.

there are so many things I could say here. such as, white or wheat? from a school lunch menu:
September 26 Submeat & Cheese on Wheat Bun w. Lettuce & Tomato, Tri Taters Applesauce or Fresh Fruit Milk

here's something I never expected to find in my hit tracker:
12 January 14:34 Parsnetworks corp, Iran. iran?!

I regret to inform you that there is no information regarding either "hiphop hairstyles" or "gay skinhead dress codes" to be found here. you also will not find "any new recent b2k pics." sorry for the inconvenience.

can the girls make it five weeks next sunday? david sneddon, the winner of fame academy, hopes not. so do jameson, busted, and feeder. I'm rooting for panjabi mc's "mudian to bach ke," to become the first bhangra record in the uk top 10 - but wouldn't #1 be bliss?

#1 "sound of the underground," girls aloud. oh, wait, here's another potential best single of 2003. it probably won't even get a u.s. release, which means: a) american record companies are stupid, b) it's our loss. an absurd melange of surf guitar, drum'n'bass beats, and girly harmonies. yum yum yum!

#2 "danger! high voltage!," electric six featuring jack white. a potential best single of 2003 is here already, y'all. rock-disco brilliance, complete with the lyric "fire in the taco bin" (?!?!). screaming guitars, a horn section, and it's all about sex. it doesn't get much better than this.

#3 "lose yourself," eminem. his second-best song ever, after "kim." period. if I were redoing my year-end chart now, this might be top 10.

#4 "if you're not the one," daniel bedingfield. hopefully his next single will be more "gotta get thru this," and less drab balladry. a talent to watch, though.

#5 "the way (put your hand in mine)," divine inspiration. now that we're back to the normal speed of the charts, it's another week, another crap trance record straight in the top five. who buys this shit?!

so, in the top 5, we have bedingfield, eminem, girls aloud, electric six, and that crap new pop-dance track. oh no! mills just said there's two new entries, and three non-movers! that means electric six are at #2! agony! well, at least the girls make it a fourth week at #1.

#6 "the cheeky song (touch my bum)," the cheeky girls. the biggest-selling single ever by a pair of identical twins, apparently... I love this song. it might be the most inanely stoopid, perfect #2 hit since "I'm too sexy." it's short, it's got a casio preset dance beat, and you can sing along 'cause the words are rather, um, simple. sad that they're out of the top 3, though.

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