Monday, September 30, 2002

Sorry for the prolonged absence. Here's my review of Peter Gabriel's latest, Up, over at Blogcritics.
It has been ten long years since he last put out a studio album, Us, and now Peter Gabriel is back with Up. As a fan, it was worth the wait. This album is unlikely to win him any new fans - there is no Sledgehammer here. However, this is a great album, very dark at times, and moody and atmospheric throughout. The production sounds great and the music is very interesting, with shifting rhythms and moods. It harkens back to earlier Peter Gabriel, mixing melody and dissonance very well. The whole album is filled with "world beat" rhythms and shimmering synths, that combination of tradition and technology that Gabriel has long been a master of.
Long time Gabrielites David Rhodes (guitar) and Tony Levin (bass) are back, along with drummer Manu Katche, who played on So and Us. The gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama show up on several tracks, including my favorite Sky Blue, where they add a beautiful, soaring background to an already haunting song. Daniel Lanois (who produced So, among many other great albums) shows up and plays a little guitar and Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan adds his voice to Signal to Noise.
Up is not a very radio-friendly album and the single The Barry Williams Show does not fit very well with the rest of the tracks. It sounds somewhat dated, being about a Jerry Springer-style talk show, and lacks the beauty of much of the rest of the album, but it has grown on me the more I've heard it. This is also a long album. Most of the ten tracks clock in around seven minutes, too long for commercial radio. It is an album that demands repeated listens, growing stronger each time around. Parts of it resemble Passion, Gabriel's soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, or the Birdy soundtrack.
Ten years was worth the wait for Up. Peter Gabriel has delivered an album that he knows his fans will like, and it is nice to see an older musician catering to his long-time admirers, rather than to the commercial music market of the time. This is a great album, and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

My first Blogcritics post is up! It's on one of the best films of all time, The Last Waltz. And while you're there, check out the whole site. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Horrible news. Warren Zevon has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Apparently he is trying to write and record as many songs as possible before he dies. I was just listening to the live Mohammed's Radio on I'll Sleep When I'm Dead:
The Ayatollah's got his problems too

(What a crybaby)

And even Jimmy Carter's got the highway blues

Zevon is one of my top 5 all-time favorite songwriters. Terrible news.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Too much good stuff to read today. Start with Lileks, then here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

John McEnroe has an op-ed in the Telegraph today. It's not totally bad, not that great either. But this paragraph sticks out.
In travelling the world as a tennis player, I have a better appreciation of other countries than most Americans. We could do with being a little less besotted with money, money, money, win, win, win. When I am in England each summer people always ask: "Why don't English players win Wimbledon? They ought to be more like Americans and play to win." To my mind, it's time Americans started being more like the English - or at least learnt to lose with grace.

Not only is this insulting to the English, who apparently don't play to win, but where the hell does John McEnroe get off telling me to learn to lose with grace?!

Monday, September 09, 2002

The Giants just beat the Dodgers, evening up the NL wild card. In the game, Bonds hit a 491 foot blast, Jeff Kent got his 1,000th career RBI and closer Robb Nen got his first big league hit in his 10 year career. And his 200th save as a Giant. Oh yeah, there was a football game or something tonight, too.
Tim Blair, using his alter-ego of Timmy T. Timson, age 5, is trying to get his poetry published on the World Hug Day website.
If I could meet Osama
I'd ask if it was brave
To kill so many people
And why he lives inside a cave


If I could meet Osama
I'd say, "Please be nice instead."
Then I'd whip out my revolver
And shoot the motherfucker dead



-- by Timmy T. Timson, age 5

Rivals Coleridge, I think. And he points out that John Hawkins has some more "movement" quotes, this time from the animal rights folks.
Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it. -- Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA (Vogue, September, 1989).


To those people who say, `My father is alive because of animal experimentation,' I say `Yeah, well, good for you. This dog died so your father could live.' Sorry, but I am just not behind that kind of trade off. -- Bill Maher, PETA celebrity spokesman.


On the consequences of stopping animal research: "Don't get the diseases in the first place, schmo." -- PETA's David Mathews (USA Today, July 27, 1994).

And so on.

Tonight on Foxnews, it's the intellectual debate of the century as Bill O'Reilly takes on Tom Arnold!
I know I'm a little late to the Amazon.com Harry Potter Nimbus Broom review party, but this shit is pretty funny:
I think the Nimbus 2000 is perfect for any age; Harry Potter fan or not! (But really, who isn't a Harry Potter fan?)
I'm 32 and enjoy riding the broom as much as my 12 yr old and 7 year old. The vibrations, along with the swooshing sounds make for a very magical journey! It is a very durable toy, as well. My only complaint is, I wish the batteries didn't run out quite so quickly!
This toy is a wonderful escape into a world of imagination!

Well, I had my doubts of buying my daughter such a toy, but she seemed to like this movie a lot so..I got it. I wasn't too keen on letting her play with it when the batteries were in so I took them out. I mean come on it VIBRATES ...

I recently bought this for my son, Vantro. He's a HUGE Harry Potter fan. Seen the movie 32 times (in the theaters) and made the paper. This toy gives him the ability to fly around the house zapping things. My only problem I see with the toy is the batteries drain too fast and his sister fights him over it, so now I need to buy her one.

Jonah Goldberg in The Corner:
Here's how Bush should begin his speech to the UN on Thursday...


"Let me explain why we bombed Iraq yesterday...."

Hyperactive economic commentator Jim Cramer on Spet. 11 (via Instapundit)
Yes, my heart has been hardened by what my head saw on that awful day and it will remain hardened until the good guys -- and don't doubt for a moment who they are, either -- wipe out all of the bad guys. Do we have to go it alone? Who cares? England went it alone. Our allies weren't attacked as we were. They don't know what it's like or have long forgotten what it's like to be bombed as we were a year ago.


How can one justify such a swing in thinking on the basis of just one day's worth of attacks? Go back in history. Look at the people in this country who were opposed to fighting the last Axis of evil that proclaimed us as an enemy. In the U.S., we had isolationists and pacifists and disarmament types galore in the 1930s and even in the first year of a new awful decade, 1940. Then Pearl Harbor happened, and only the cranks and the fools stayed that course. The nation united in recognizing the need to preserve and defend itself at all costs.


That's where we are now. For those of you who don't know that yet, I recommend you go see the sailors of the battleship Arizona in its permanent lagoon tomb. Or take a look in my closet, where I keep the pair of Rockport wingtips that I wore Sept. 11, untouched, because I know what made up those gray ashes wedded to the soles and the uppers that fateful, horrible day.


In years to come, there will be people who stayed pacifist or ignorant or oblivious to what has happened, and they will be looked upon in later history as cowards or dreamers or fools. And then there will be the people who saw Sept. 11 for what it was, a declaration of war against us, and acted accordingly. I want nothing more than to be in the latter camp, if only because yesterday was and always will be Sept. 11 until our enemies are vanquished.

Right on, Jim.
This Drudge report on ABC's upcoming interview with Saddam's mistress is actually pretty funny.
Lampsos, 54, who left Iraq a year ago, not only offers stories of the Iraqi dictator's personal life that she says few others know, but tells of his alleged effort to have his oldest son killed, his take on President George W. Bush, his extreme vanity and love of American films and music.


Lampsos tells Shipman how Saddam's favorite movie is the GODFATHER. And his favorite song is "Strangers in the Night."


SHIPMAN:


He likes Frank Sinatra?


LAMPSOS:


Yeah


SHIPMAN:


And would he play it, would he dance to that?


LAMPSOS:


Sometimes.


Lampsos says Saddam swims almost every day, drinks milk and honey in the morning and his favorite food for dinner is fresh gazelle. She says he raises and nurtures the gazelles -- and then handpicks each one to be slaughtered for his meal.

I have no idea why I think that's funny. I just do. Maybe it's the gazelle nurturing imagery.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Volokh links to this article in The Weekly Standard on the Democrats Iraqi position in 1998, and it's pretty amazing.
Matters looked different in 1998, when Democrats were working with a president of their own party. Daschle not only supported military action against Iraq, he campaigned vigorously for a congressional resolution to formalize his support. Other current critics of President Bush--including Kerry, Graham, Patrick Leahy, Christopher Dodd, and Republican Chuck Hagel--co-sponsored the broad 1998 resolution: Congress "urges the president to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."


Daschle said the 1998 resolution would "send as clear a message as possible that we are going to force, one way or another, diplomatically or militarily, Iraq to comply with international law." And he vigorously defended President Clinton's inclination to use military force in Iraq.


Summing up the Clinton administration's argument, Daschle said, "'Look, we have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so?' That's what they're saying. This is the key question. And the answer is we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."

So much for not politicizing the war. Where was all your grave, soft-spoken concern for "process" and "coalitions" back then, Tom?

Wacky Nutjob ex-weapons inspector Scott Ritter is praising Saddam - in front of the Iraqi Parliament.
"The truth is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders," Ritter said.

Can you say "bought off?" (His trip was sponsored by the, you guessed it, Iraqi government.) Meanwhile, the White House is searching for video that purportedly shows Saddam presiding over an execution.