Monday, May 29, 2006

Bill Frist is a Scoundrel

I have an RSS feed to Crooks and Liars. No surprise there. We don’t have cable, and even if we did I wouldn’t have the time or the patience to watch CNN, MSNBC, the networks and especially Fox. C&L is a great way to keep up with the shenanigans of the Conservative Idiots.

Bill Frist is a textbook example of a scoundrel. I have no trouble believing he was a bully on the playground as a kid. A couple of examples: Bill Frist the medical student lied to the personnel of animal rescue shelters in order to obtain cats unethically for experimentation, outside of the normal sanctioned experiements that are required of medical students. Then there was the notorious “diagnosis” of Terry Schiavio via a video-tape.

As I said, textbook scoundrel.

[As an aside, has anyone else noticed that back in the Clinton days and before, the Republicans constantly whined, warned and complained that if we weren't careful the Democrats were the ones who were going to intrude into our personal lives and threaten our precious rights? What would they have said if the Clinton administration had done even a third of what these criminals have been doing for the last 5 years?]

Yesterday, as I was going through the C&L updates, I watched a clip of Frist on Fox speaking to Chris Wallace:

HOST: …Are gay marriage and flag burning the most important issues the Senate can be addressing in June of 2006?

FRIST:…When you look at that flag and you tell me that right now people in this country are saying it’s okay to desecrate that flag and to burn it and to not pay respect to it, is that important to our values as a people when we’ve got 130,000 people fighting for our freedom and liberty today? That is important. It may not be important here in Washington where people say, well, it’s political posturing and all, but it’s important to the heart and soul of the American people. … Why marriage today? Marriage is for our society that union between a man and a woman, is the cornerstone of our society. It is under attack today.

Why don’t these reporters ask questions like this:

Host: Wait a minute. As a medical doctor and the Senate Majority leader, surely you are aware of the statistics of how many Americans, men women and children are unable to receive even minimal health care due to skyrocketing costs and lack of insurance? How many documented cases of flag-burning have there been in the last 5 years, and how many people suffered as a result of those flag-burnings? Are you actually going to sit there and tell the 40 million plus Americans who lack proper health-care that an amendment to the constitution banning flag-burning is somehow more important to them than providing a solution to the health-care crisis?

Frist: [paraphrased for clarity] I’m a hypocritical self-servative who has not even the slightest interest in helping anyone who's net-worth is less than $5,000,000. Never forget that fact.

Host: Next question senator. Explain to those Americans who have to decide between eating and paying for $3 per gallon gasoline, between heating their homes in the winter and paying for exepenisve medication, explain to them how the union of two people of the same gender is more of on “attack on marriage” and a threat to family values than the policies of the Bush administration that have benefited only those who can afford yachts and mansions and basically left the lower and middle classes worse off than they were during the Clinton years?

Frist: At the risk of repeating myself…

I’m just so sick of these selfish bastards talking about non-issues. There is no “attack on marriage.” There is no “war on terror.” There is, however a concerted effort to shift more wealth and power away from the lower and middle classes and into the coffers of the richest Americans.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm With Neil

I read this post and then ordered the CD from Amazon. I agree with Neil.

Let's Impeach The President (Listen)
By Neil Young

Let’s impeach the president for lying
And leading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door
He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones
What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected
Thank god he’s racking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean
Thank God

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's Love

I’m not a huge fan of King’s X, but do like them and I have a great respect for them as musicians. I picked up one of their albums, because I heard “It’s Love” (listen) - which informs us of what the Beatles might have sounded like had they been a prog band. It knocked me out at the time.

Their fans say that "Gretchen Goes To Nebraska" is a classic. I have never gotten around to it. Probably soon.

The band has had troubles since the word go. Front man Doug Pinnick recently issued a statement recently that says a lot about music and the music business.

Pretty sad story.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where Did You Get Those Shoes?

Steely Dan is coming to town with Michael McDonald. I’ve seen them now (in various configurations) a number of times, including Fagen in a small club in Manhattan with a killer band including Pat Metheny. Still, they are one of my favorites. And, say what you want about MM, (I’m not a big fan of his either) but I love his vocals on the Steely Dan sides. He did some nice work on “Katy Lied,” and was brought back for “I Got The News” on “Aja.” Personally, I’d like to hear him come out and harmonize on some of those classics.

The last time I saw them was here in Atlanta. I sprang for the best seats available and with everything it came to almost $300. It was a great show, and the only one I saw that year. When I heard they were coming in August to Chastain Park, I figured that I would pass because with 3 in college, we really can’t justify spending that kind of money for a show. We just don’t have it, and I’m too old and spoiled to sit in the shite sections. I’d rather stay home and watch the DVD.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I visited the site and saw that you could get “rear orchestra” for about $70 each. Pricey. But maybe? I told myself I wasn’t going to spring for them but I investigated further…

I selected 2 seats in the rear orchestra section and clicked "check-out." Here is the message from the website:

Talk about greed! You can’t buy tickets for just the show you want to see. You must buy tickets for 2 or more shows! Somewhere on the site it says that you can purchase tickets for one show only after June 27th subject to availability.

Gee, thanks.

I had read that Fagen hates the south. I have no trouble believing that, and the older I get, the more I agree with him. In “Pretzel Logic” he sings ironically:

I would love to tour the southland,
In a traveling minstrel show.

Sadly, I won’t be there with him, and I won’t get to hear McDonald sing the famous lines that got him the gig to tour and later record with the famous duo back in ’73 or so:

I stepped upon the platform
The man gave me the news
He said "You must be joking son
Where did you get those shoes?"


As a side-note, here is what Garrison Keillor had to say the last time he played Chastain. The comments are amusing. (page down some on the linked page.)

This week's Top 10 is here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Beautiful Song In The Wrong Hands

My friend Sound has some things to say about George Harrison’s solo work. I tend to agree with him, but to a lesser degree. What I’ve come to with George is that he was a better songwriter (though spotty at times – songs like “Crackerbox Palace” come to mind) and guitarist than he was arranger / producer. I don’t like the sound of his solo records so much. The arrangements and the instrumentation. I know he was trying to move on from his Beatle years, and no one can blame him for that, but what he moved on to was a sound that I didn’t much care for.

Take for instance, the official studio version of “Let It Down” from “All Things Must Pass.” For some reason George thought that he needed Phil Spector to turn his demos into records. I think George needed Phil Spector the way that The Beatles needed Yoko. Critics like to use words like "bombastic" or "overblown" to describe records like that.

Listen for yourself.

I've heard worse, but I don't find myself jonesing for that one. Imagine my surprise when I first heard George's home demo of the same song?


Too bad he never did a whole album like that.

I have an unreleased all acoustic demo of the song "Dark Horse." Let me know in the comments section if there is any interest in hearing it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Fiscally Responsible Gop

"According to the U.S. Treasury Department, America's first 42 Presidents, from George Washington (1789) to Bill Clinton (2000), borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. From 2000 to 2006, the Bush White House has borrowed $1.05 trillion alone. Yes, that means we have borrowed in the last 5 years what we had previously borrowed in the first 211 years of our country."

From this here article...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

John Lennon With Cheap Trick

It is a known fact that John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles were focused on making hit records. Contrary to our romantic visions of artists toiling solely for the sake of their art, from the beginning the Beatles set their sites on commercial success. The fact that their records were both extraordinarily successful and sublime works of art is just one of the many examples of their brilliance. I remember reading one time that when John met Joni Mitchell he advised her to record some strings on her records if she wanted them to be hits. (Glad she didn't take his advice!) Lennon was of course a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, he competed with McCartney for the A-Sides of singles. On the other hand he insisted on releasing “Revolution Number 9.”

That’s John.

During the recording “Double Fantasy,” John mentioned that he hoped that the record would appeal to women as well as men. He wanted to soften the edges. Excuse me for saying so, but one thing he could have done was keep Yoko away from the microphone. The fact that half of “Double Fantasy” was marred by her horrendous recordings is just another one of those contradictions that we Lennon fans have to accept. For a long time I tried to reconcile my feelings toward Yoko. After all, you don’t want to have opinions that would effectively make you an enemy of one of your heroes had he gotten wind of them.

What can I say? Yoko sucked.

John recorded an alternate version of “I’m Losing You” with Cheap Trick (minus singer Robin Zander) which in my humble opinion is vastly superior to the official version released on “Double Fantasy,” and the best side that Cheap Trick ever played on. I suspect that he thought it was too “hard” for the record, so he re-recorded it with the house band that was featured on most of the other tracks. I love hearing demos and alternate takes from my favorite artists, but after hearing them I usually end up agreeing with the final decision. Not this time.

From “Wonsaponatime” (and “Anthology”) here is a killer version of “I’m Losing You.”

Stay tuned. In the next few days I’m going to feature a beautiful alternate take by George Harrison.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Feck Off!

If you are in need of a good laugh and have a Netflix membership, do yourself a favor and put "Father Ted" at the top of your rental queue.

Funniest thing I've seen in a good long time.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Guy Once Said

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."

courtesy of xtcfan

The Top 10 is back!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This Is Where I Chill-Ax

I got this link from a friend of mine. I think it's funny.

Friday, May 12, 2006

One Saturday At Tom's

I was in the mood for some B. Kliban today.

Way back in the mid-80's, back before all this bullshit was happening, or maybe at the start of all this bullshit, back when I was young, there was this one Saturday afternoon at my friend Tom's house. He lived in Melville, Long Island, NY. He had a perfect house for parties, with a built-in pool, a picnic table, a gas grill, and a refrigerator stocked with beer. Sound was there that day, as were our future ex-wives.

I really miss those days sometimes, except I was with Stella instead of the Viscountess. Stella was like a backpack full of asphalt.

Never mind that though.

On that day, after some delicious grilled country ribs courtesy of Sound, a few beers and probably a joint or two, Tom said, "You guys want to see some B. Kliban Cartoons?"

"B. Kliban?"

"Wait right there!"

Tom went running into the house. Sound must have lifted an eyebrow. Stella sat there looking bored. In a flash, here comes Tom rushing back to the picnic table with a stack of paperback books in his hands, already laughing. Tom's laugh itself is funny. His laugh makes everyone else laugh, regardless of how funny (or unfunny) the original impetus to the laugh may have been. When Tom starts laughing, the party kicks into interstellar overdrive.

He flips open the first book and shows us this cartoon:

... and waits for a reaction. As I start to chuckle, Tom falls into a serious guffaw, laughing as he inhales so he can laugh louder on the exhale. Sound and I start to laugh, which makes Tom laugh even louder, which makes us laugh even louder, while our perplexed future ex's exchange looks that range from mild amusement, (Mrs. Tom) to annoyance, (Mrs. Sound) to sleepy (Stella.)

For the next hour or so, this continues non-stop. I still can't find my favorite from that day. It was a picture of long, single story frame house. On the roof it said, "Fred's House." I can't remember exactly, but I think right next to the house was a creature shaped exactly like the house, and "Fred" was written on him in the same handwriting. We must have laughed for 5 minutes straight over that one.

Anyway, it's Friday. I hope these bring some amusement to the beginning of a safe and enjoyable weekend for all.

More here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Defy You To Find A More Depressing Song

As depressing?


Some really great art came out of this man. I love this record, in spite of the darkness.

The Tears Of Audrey (listen)
By Kevin Gilbert
From "Thud"

Audrey's donning her black dress again
A dress she always plans to wear
"It's over" - she says it softly over
"I'm all alone"

She does not listen to the eulogies
She gives no credence to her pain
"From now on I'm through with love
From now on I will not love again."

There are no hearts to mend
There are no prayers to send
There's no reason why
There's no need to cry for the sadness of it all
There are no dreams come true and there is no care
Let the world beware should the tears of Audrey fall

She carefully polishes her heart of stone
She deftly sculpts her feet of clay
"I'm no one and none can touch me
No one . . . it's easier this way."

Is it so unfair?
Let the world beware
Should the tears of Audrey fall

So now she's shutting all her windows tight
And now she's closing all her blinds
"How can I believe in light
When darkness is all around?"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Republicans - WRONG on Every Issue

Can you even think of just ONE thing they got right?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Sky Is Falling On My Head

This is a great song from an often overlooked album by (Will) Owsley. It describes quite well how about half of us have been feeling for the past five years or so. The other half watches Fox and thinks Jesus was Rambo.

I hope you like it.

The Sky Is Falling (listen)
From “Owsley”
Written by - Owsley, Millard Powers & Jody Spence

Just when I thought it was safe outside
The newscaster's calling for rain
And if I listen to him
The sky is falling from every limb
Chicken Little had a big day today

When the time runs out
And the clock winds down
And the rooster crows

The sky is falling on my head
(Tumbling down, tumbling down)
The sky is falling on me

Who tried to fool Mother Nature
Well, I don't think she looks too amused
And now it's starting to rain
I think we know who deserves the blame
Everybody gets a little judgment day

I know what to do
I should write a book about it
I can just see it now
And the pages are wet

Well, I guess I should get an umbrella
The kind that can stop more than rain
Yeah, I'm always in a hard hat zone

©1998 Sony ATV Songs LLC / Coupe De Ville Music

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dick Cheney's Cat


Friday, May 05, 2006


Bobby Lightfoot, while sharing his insights into the creative processes of the pop song was riffing on authenticity.

Nick Drake was authentic. I wrote about Pink Moon last August.

When I wrote that piece, I didn't yet know how to post links to mp3s. Here are the two songs I referenced:

Pink Moon.


One guitar, one vocal track, a little piano, and an entire universe.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

Some time ago in IM conversation my friend Neddie Jingo promised one of his famous Beatle deconstructions on “Here Comes The Sun.” I’m hoping that this post will inspire him to get going on it.

“Here Comes The Sun” for me represents the best from the best and the best. It is the best George Harrison song, from the best side of the best Beatle Album, which happens to be the best album of all time from the best band of all time. Perfect, optimistic lyrics, beautiful acoustic guitars played flawlessly, sublime bass part from the best rock bass player ever, understated synthe parts that sound as if they just sprouted naturally, soaring harmonies that are simultaneously angelic and down-to-earth, a lead vocal performance that is both honest and effortless and Ringo supporting it all with his unique style of drumming. This is why they invented the phrase “ear candy.”

“Here Comes The Sun” – listen now
By George Harrison
From “Abbey Road”

Monday, May 01, 2006

Just a Question

Why don’t we offer green cards to illegal aliens in exchange for 2 years of military service?