Friday, July 09, 2004

On the DVD player (This Ain't the Mudd Club Edition)

Last weekend when JennySlash was hanging out at her mom's after she got out of the hospital, I found myself at home alone for one of the only times in the last few years. My first inclination in that situation is to crank it UP! But instead of throwing a CD on or grabbing some MP3s, I put on the 15th anniversary Stop Making Sense DVD and turned up the home theater system to, well, maybe not 11 but pretty loud.

For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, it is one of the truest-to-the-performance movies of a rock concert certainly that I've ever seen. And a hell of a concert it was! Starting with a bare stage full of ladders and cords and a single mike and stand, David Byrne comes out with a boombox to provide the rhythm track and does a mesmerizing version of Psycho Killer. Out comes elfin Tina Weymouth for the next song, looking about a foot shorter than her bass. As she and Byrne are finishing Heaven, stage hands push the drum kit onto the stage and Chris Franz kicks in a fast march beat for Thank You for Sending Me an Angel. Then Jerry Harrison comes out looking like he just rolled out from under the Dodge Dart that he was changing the oil on to do Found a Job. By the time they launch into Burning Down the House there are 9 people on the stage (including P-Funk's Bernie Worrell) and if you're not off your dead ass dancing around your living room, there is something seriously wrong with you. I found it interesting in reading a number of reviews of the DVD that I'm not the only one that gets a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat by the time Life During Wartime is over. Through it all, I think the thing that would surprise most people that stopped listening to them after More Songs About Buildings and Food is the incredible energy and joy that is evident on the stage - a far cry from the stiff, shy performances that I understand they were known for in the CBGBs days.

You've got options with the DVD soundtrack, including a remastered Dolby 5.1 film soundtrack, a Dolby 5.1 studio mix that sounds like you're sitting at the soundboard at the concert and a 2.1 mix that sounds awesome when I pop the DVD into my audioediting computer with the Klipsch ProMedia speakers.

It's a unique concert movie - one that I highly suggest you at least rent even if you're not a huge Talking Heads fan. Actually being a huge Talking Heads fan and having seen them on the tour that produced the movie, the DVD was a must-have for me.
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
we blended with the crowd
We've got computers, we're tapping phone lines,
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
or in a suit and a tie
I've changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
I don't know what I look like!

The NC Politics of Jim

In briefly commenting on Bill Cobey's run for the NC governor's seat in a previous post, I realized that a long chapter in North Carolina gubernatorial politics has apparently ended. For the last quarter of the 20th century, it didn't matter whether you were a Republican or a Democrat - the race was between the Jims and the Not-Jims and the Jims won every time. Between Jim Holshouser and Jim Hunt and Jim Martin (note that he used to be known more as James Martin until he ran for governor) and that Jim Hunt guy again, we had 28 years of all Jim, all the time. It was even to the point that the diminutive wasn't enough - Jimmy Green was never able to rise above the post of Lt. Governor because he just wasn't Jim enough (or maybe because he was a freaking idiot - hard to say).

I don't know what happened to allow a Mike to sit at the governor's desk - one wonders if his lack of Jimosity is at least in part responsible for his low profile these last four years. Maybe he's a bit embarrassed by his dearth of Jimness. The good thing is that the Repuglicans haven't picked up on this yet, as their contenders are Bill, Richard, Patrick, Dan, George and Fern (Fern?!). If Ms. Shubert started referring to herself as Jim instead of Fern, no doubt she'd be a shoe-in. I'm firmly convinced that if I changed my name to Jim and had lip-reduction surgery (look at a couple of pictures of Hunt and Holshouser and you'll know what I'm talking about) that I could be the next governor of North Carolina. I'm just not sure I want the demotion.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

John Edwards

I'm really enjoying hearing the wingnuts and the lazy media regurgitating the new RNC talking points about John Edwards.

He's inexperienced. Gee, they ran W for president (not vice president) with no more experience than Edwards has.

He's liberal. Only if you're a wingnut - he's pretty clearly a moderate in the opinion of anyone that isn't INSANE! His main appeal in the primaries (and one of the main reasons he's on the ticket) was to independents and anti-Bush Republicans (in states with open primaries).

He's a trial lawyer. Well, yeah (although the corporate lawyer trolls commenting in Kevin Drum's blog insisted that he's a "plaintiffs attorney" - they're all trial lawyers), let's see how much anti-Edwards feeling that generates when we start hearing about him winning a suit against a pool drain manufacturer after its known-to-be defective drain sucked the intestines out of a little girl and they offered a whole $100K to her family to settle (her medical bills and just the cost of living will run into the tens, maybe hundreds of millions).

He wouldn't have won his Senate seat back if he'd run for re-election. Say what? The guy that came out of nowhere to beat a Congressional Club-backed Republican incumbent in 1998 wouldn't have won reelection? Maybe in Bizarro North Carolina. With Liddy Dole now in office, the state Repuglican Party is so fucking desperate for someone else to run that they've dragged Bill fucking Cobey out of moth balls to run for governor. If we'd played "Dead or Alive" and his name came up, I'd have lost for sure. Who do they think would have beaten Edwards for Senate? Ms. Dole can't have both seats!

He didn't even win his own state's primary. That little gem was from House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Uh, dude, we haven't had our freaking primary yet! I heard somewhere that there was a caucus a couple of months ago after Kerry had wrapped the nomination up and that the 7 people that knew about it voted for the guy that had already won. Yeah, boy, THAT'S a resounding denunciation of Edwards.

He talks with a Southern accent. I swear to God it's true - I heard some idiot actually say that today like it was some kind of a problem. Uh, I'm guessing she hadn't noticed that the Repuglican president has been trying for years to be all Southern-y and Texan-y and rural-y when we all know he's really a New England preppy, so why this commentator thought Edwards sounding Southern would be a problem, I don't know.

The reality is that North Carolina was already starting to look only weakly in the Bush column. Edwards on the Dem ticket makes it a push. Even better, the Bush campaign has already admitted that they're changing their campaign strategy and putting more focus on the South, rather than being able to ignore it. The downside of that is that I actually thought we were going to stay pretty clear of Bush ads - looks like that won't happen now. Suddenly the Bushies are going to have to spread their ad money much more thinly across a much bigger area and Bush and Cheney themselves are going to have to have to cover a lot more territory over the next few months. Edwards has already shown that he plays well in the Midwest. I love the fact that having Edwards on the ticket now means that the Bushies will have to actually compete in a bunch of states that they thought were gimmes.

I'm actually a little excited about this! :-)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Fafnir shows why it's a toss-up:
There are some who say it is either gonna be Dick Gephardt or John Edwards. Yknow I can see this would be a pretty tricky decision. John Edwards gives you that youthful dynamic energy while Dick Gephardt gives you that youthful dynamic energy in the form of an old beaten rundown party machine crushed under the weight of its own obsolescence. So you gotta weigh the pros and cons for a while.

Update: Glad to see that Kerry made the right choice!

Spider-Man 2

Comic Book.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Working Sucks

One of the things that these little one-day holidays remind me is how much working sucks. I don't mean that work itself sucks - that really depends on one's job at any given time and currently mine's pretty okay. It's the working itself that sucks because I've got so many other things I'd rather be doing that I seem to never (or at least seldom) have time for. Three-day weekends in particular bring this point home as they hold out this promise of not having to work but I usually just wind up catching up on the stuff I don't get done during the week or I'm paralyzed with indecision - which of the forty-leven things I want to do can I actually get to this weekend? I'd much rather:
- spend more time with JennySlash
- spend more time with my folks in the NC mountains
- spend more time with my sister and her family in Charlotte
- spend more time with Lex and Ann and Pete and Kel and Ginny and David (and those are just the friends that we DO manage to see occasionally
- make new friends
- spend more time with my extended family in Nashville, Huntsville and elsewhere
- do much more photography
- finish my project to digitize all my old vinyl
- run more, bicycle more, kayak more, hike more
- read more
- take graduate courses
- write more (oddly enough)
- go hear more live music
- see more plays
- go to more museums
- go places I've never been (Key West, Seattle, the Bahamas, Australia)
- go back to places I've barely been (San Francisco, Boston, London, Germany)
- visit places that I love but haven't been in awhile (DC, Nashville, Orlando, Ottawa)
- spend more time exploring the NC coast and mountains
- sleep more
- finally finish Tomb Raider (the game, not the movie)
- learn to bartend (not just beertend)
- learn to scuba dive
- fix the motorcycle and ride
- teach myself more about Linux, web authoring and other technologies
- go to Busch Gardens, Carowinds, Universal Studios - ride more rollercoasters!
- really learn to play golf
- go mountain biking at Tsali
- go rafting on the Nantahala
- hike the Appalachian Trail (at least a good chunk of it)
And none of this is the big stuff! This is just the stuff you want to do that shouldn't take all that much planning or foresight - that I feel like I ought to be able to work into my life without a lot of trouble, but work gets in the way. What little time I have after work mostly gets chewed up by the things you have to do to live - buying groceries, cutting the grass, paying the bills, walking the dog (I would have added "cleaning the house" but we all know better than that).

We've all played that game of what we'd do if we won the lottery - I've also had the extension to that conversation about how much you'd have to win before you quit your job. Lemme tell you - it wouldn't take much!

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Too cool! BoingBoing points to Bed, Bath and Beyond as a source for Shag-designed beach towels! If you're not familiar with Shag, he inhabits (and illustrates) a land where Martin Denny and Miles Davis still rule, where the women look like Audrey Hepburn, the guys all wear black turtlenecks, Mai-Tais are the drink of choice and Tiki gods are the new religion. I often live there in my head...