Monday, October 27, 2008

A Visit from George Washington

I wanted desperately to get this out before the election, but I kind of lost interest in it. It was going to be about George Washington showing up on election night and reminding everyone about his parting words on political parties given during his leaving office speech:

"However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

A Visit from George Washington

'Twas the night of Election
And all through the House
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a spouse.

The ballots were counted
By computer with care
In the hopes that no Dade
Again would we dare.

The children were nestled
All drugged by their Valium
While we sat down
To the long night's tallin'.

With Ma in her work clothes
And me in my slacks
We both settled in
For the night's coming attacks.

When there on the tube
There arose such a rumble
I turned to the news networks
To see what was the grumble.

From Fox News to CNN
The Daily Show, too
There appeared an apparition
Dressed mostly in blue.

The faces of 'casters
And pundits alike
Told me the this guy
Was an unscheduled psych.

His hair was as white
As new-fallen snow
And his age seemed ancient
But it really didn't show.

I had seen him before
On the one dollar bill
But there on TV,
He arose such a thrill.

By his stance and his posture
He was obviously the one,
Our first real president
George Washington.

"My friends," he spoke
With a rumbling voice,
"Harken my last presidential words,
Amend your method of choice.

"This two-party system
Ye have set up
Has superficial differences
'Mongst this political soup.

"Abandon thy love for
And your allegiance
To many parties equip!"

With that he turned,
Leaving all in stunned silence,
And called to his mates
Without malice or violence,

"On Taft and Roosevelts,
Both Frankie and Ted,
On Jefferson, Jackson,
Abe and Wilson get out the lead!"

And in a puff of smoke
And pin-hearing quiet
He vanished that night
Like pudge during a diet.

He never came back
And wasn't spoken of again
But his message was clear:
From party politics should we refrain.

Nov 1-7, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

The 2003 Rugby World Cup Final is one of the best games of rugby ever played. It went into double overtime and was at the point where the officials had to decide how to end the match because the players were so exhausted. It came down who could score first and England's wunderkind Johnny Wilkinson booted a fantastic drop goal in the dying seconds of the second overtime. And, while I have always been a fan of Australian Rugby over those pansy English Roses, I have to admit that Wilkinson's kick was one of the most amazing sporting moments of this century.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Song of the Week

Well, Thursday was a pretty long, bad day. Started off on a down note. Couldn't get out of bed and get moving. Woke up, forgot my wallet. Had to pay for my coffee with leftover nickels from my glove box. Spilt some teriyaki sauce on my shirt at lunch. Because I didn't have my wallet I couldn't buy a drink and the make-it-yourself Chinese bowl was spicy. Got observed (which went really well actually). Rushed home to put the dog out; he didn't want to come in. Ran back to school for two hour band practice. I have a laughably hard time conducting in 2/4. Ate a little bit of dinner and rushed off to rugby practice where I re-opened my ear cuts and got banged in the knee and it was cold.

Whine session over.

On the way home from practice, I said "fuck it" and put the iPod on shuffle. "Whatever happens, happens." The Long Winters happened, a band I had loved but hadn't heard since junior year of college. "Scared Straight" just has a way of picking you up and setting you down right ways up on your feet. However, there is no good version of the song on youtube and, while I have put a version up here, you can't even hear the best part of the song - the bass. Oh man. Just download it. You know you want to. It is off their album When I Pretend to Fall.

Right after "Scared Straight," I had to put on the second best Long Winters song, "Fire Island, AK." Both of these tunes just drive the entire song and don't let up. And this one is just a really, really good song. "They found my letters and I don't have to wonder if it reached you" while it seems that the guy is being investigated? Nice touch.

I remember the first time I saw The Long Winters. I was with Sera and Laura in Hoboken at Maxwell's to see The Decemberists and these guys opened for them. That was the most hipster-ish night of my life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oldie but Goodie, Vol. 6

Who are we without our past? And I'm running out of decent material.

Pressing Issues

I find that the things I possess
Are often forgotten
Yet the things misplaced
Never leave me alone

The keys under the couch
The rent past due
The Brita filter
In need of a change

There are the fish that need feeding
The wine that needs drinking
The paper that needs writing
Though the research is lacking

Yet they all sink into the blue
As I lie here looking at the
Now-familiar ceiling
Of your teal room


You're Playing Video Games While Sitting On My Bed

The lingering sunlight though the dull grey clouds

.....Paints your chest thought the sloping neckline

With the most perfect light to incite




I find that a drunken fight is like
A vase on top of a pedestal that,
...While walking through the museum,
You bump with your hip.
And though nearly priceless
.....You keep going,

Both you and companion not knowing,
Until the stunned, pre-warned, class-tripping children

Witness the crash.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Mystery? Get a haircut and loose the goggles.

OK. I broke down. I saw it.

Last Sunday night, I watched an episode of VH1's The Pickup Artist. Then I watched parts of last season on the internet.

It was hilarious. I saw so much of myself in those guys (well, aside from the fact that they suck sooooo much more than I do). And I have to say, at first I was impressed that Mystery (and note that I cringe at having to call him that) could walk into a bar and own it so well.

Then I got to thinking. He is really dirty. I felt kind of disgusted watching him treat women as such objects. Yes, we've all done it (oh who am I kidding). But every night? Mystery seems doomed to the life he has chosen.

I think what puts me off the most is his philosophy - The Game. Easily dismissed as "complete and utter bullshit" at first glance, it seems to work. Which distresses me. Why are women so easily seduced by being treated like crap? I have always been confused by the "tough guy" mantra some homies (yeah, I went there) put forth.

Before we continue, allow me to make one point - I have zero game and terrible luck with women; the ones that like me I don't like and the ones that I like don't like me or are famous (ahem...Jenna Fischer...ahem).

So herein lies the dilemma: I refuse to learn "The Game" based solely on it's perceived scummyness; but do I wait until everyone else uses it to admit that it is successful and succumb to Mystery's plans or stick to my (seemingly single bound) guns?

Either way, going out and talking to random people is so much fun. It is my new favorite hobby and I do intend to keep it up. There is a certain level of insta-confidence gained by "opening a set," a high. You can be anyone you want to be for a little bit. It's awesome. For example, I convinced three different people that I had a bunch of different names and our mutual friends is still dealing with the fallout.

You know what? Screw it. This is way to whinny anyway and I'm probably just going to delete it before anyone influential in my life reads it. I'll leave you non-readers with this - Go fuck yourself, Mystery. You're giving men a bad name.

Song of the Week

Well, here we are, an entire day late. It's OK though, I'll give you three songs.

This first one is from my new favorite artist, Nujabes. Nujabes is a Japanese house DJ who (I have found out by perusing his Wikipedia page) created his name by making an anagram of his real moniker, Jun Seba. JUN SEBA. Why you would want to change that gem is beyond me. It sounds like a Jedi or some crazy Kung-Fu Master. Of DJ-ing. I really cannot explain my new found passion for house music, except that listening to The Pulse radio station almost non-stop while on stand with Nat at the nude beach this summer might have had something to do with it. I have never been into "dance" music, but damn, this gets me moving. And corny, apparently. But anyone who lists Pat Metheny (look up "First Circle) as a major influence is alright in my book.

Now I did say three this week. Number two is the background chart Nujabes dubbed over to make that song above. The reason that Nujabes' chart jumps out so much is because the music sounds like you're hearing it through walls; like there is a awesome party going on next door and you want to get in. Anyway, the original is just as good in that solid, old-fashioned Motown-style. If you scroll back, the reason Estelle appears on here is because of her Motown influence in "Pretty Please." And this band has such an awesome name, The Quadraphonics. And they sound like a poor-man's Jackson-5.

The last song today is a short track that has, arguably, had more influence on music than any other piece. This song is "Amen, Brother" by The Winstons, an otherwise unknown band. You cannot find this song in this version on iTunes or anywhere else and it has been driving me crazy. I am a sucker for these types of blaring, dirty jazz/funk beats. Maybe this is why I am finding myself enjoying house so much; maybe it's the simple repetition of phrases in the music that my ear is already attuned to admire. Anyway, at 1:27 the drum solo is so often cut and sampled in that you should recognize it when you hear it. If you don't, there is an eighteen minute youtube video about why these fifteen-or-so seconds are important. I just think it's a good song.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Newbie but (Hopefully) a Goodie, Vol. 1

La Petite Mort,
or Slowing, in the Corner, Passing

Bloated with Fun,
. Anchored to the Young,
Tethered with Budweiser and rum -
. We drift.

There gapes a Riff
. Too deep for our Skiff,
Not even our stoutest "If..."
. Can span.

We're old. Our Clan
. No longer welcome sans
A sprightly Catamaran.
. We've no choice but to sink.


Note: The periods are there to make the line jump like I want. That's all.
This is in complete contrast to my awesome weekend. Perhaps more on that later.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I have just come up with an awesome Halloween costume. It requires me not to shave. Sorry.

Song of the Week

This week's song might come as a surprise, considering my recent affinity for both "Ballroom Blitz" and my new favorite band Gaelic Storm. But for some reason or another, I've been listening to Vampire Weekend a lot recently. This song is just awesome. The simple beats and unassuming lyrics are, in typical VW fashion, ridiculously catchy. The guitar solo is so simple that it gives off an oh-I'm-so-sorry-that-guy-can't-even-play-his-instrument-type of vibe, while the whole time remaining entirely up-beat and positive. The general feeling of the song reminds me of British Sea Power, but much, much happier (and a whole lot better).
The video also does something to you. The internet tells me that it is a culmination of all the band members' asking to have their favorite childhood characters in a video, i.e.. cowboys, farmers, revolutionaries, hippies. But the video has two other favorites of mine going for it. The whole thing stinks of Wes Anderson influence and, considering he is one of my favorite directors because of his attention to detail, that an obvious boon for the band. The second aspect of the video is that it is filmed in entirely one shot. One shot takes or long shots in movies always seem to resonate; there is a feeling of realism in them that only comes across from knowing that these actors, if only for a few minutes, have totally become the characters they are portraying. Children of Men does this wonderfully well and there is a Russian movie (the name of which escapes me) that is filmed in one long take. A single, hour-and-a-half-long shot. No one messes up. Almost gives you hope that you won't mess up in your eighty-year-long single take. THINK ABOUT IT MAN!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Picture Prompt

"Don't do it."

The height was dizzying. Not since the last project had Bill and Leroy been up this high and they had had plenty of time to think about what happened then.

"But remember Ted?"

They used to be a trio.

"He was spouting all this 'fire and brimstone, end of the world' bullshit. About how we all look like, you know, ants from up here."

Leroy looked down. He had seen this dozens of times before, had even appreciated the utter meaninglessness before. He couldn't help but admit. It was true. Up at the top of the world, feeling the wind in your face, all the people busy hurrying below, like broken leaves in a current, insignificant troubles. Easily erased dots. Ted had always brought this up at lunch time, the dry taste of day-old hoagie bread still dangling from their taste buds.

"I'm not saying I'm against what Ted said, Leroy. I'm just...I'm just not gonna quit like him. Like he did."

Bill turned around again. He peered down at the dots and smoke below, the warm, acrid smell of car exhaust came to him. He thought out loud:

"You know, I can smell them," meaning the dots. "I can actually smell them up here. If I can smell them, maybe what they're doing...matters. Maybe all that exhaust down there is supposed to tell us something. Maybe that smell is them signaling. You know, like old Indian smoke signals or something. Maybe they're signaling, 'We do matter!'" Bill paused. "Yeah."

" good?

"Yeah. I'm good."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Song of the Week

I just ate an entire Chicken Pot Pie for lunch. I'm at school. Luckily, we're watching that debacle of an adaptaion Wolfgang Peterson's Troy next period.

Anyway, I absolutly love this song and now it has a video. But I don't really think it's a proper representation of the song. If you haven't heard me talk about him, you should really check out Eric Hutchinson. He's a really good artist I found on a whim for 5 bucks at Best Buy one day last spring.

Also, winner of the Unoffical First Comment Contest goes to Emily. Congrats!

And congrats to my mom, it's her birthday.

Gotta go, here they come.