Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues

Published on May 11, 2013, by in Music.

This has become one of my favorite songs.



Published on May 3, 2013, by in General.

Big Dude


One day back in 2005, my wife and I made the decision that it would be nice to have a dog. We headed off to the Brookhaven Animal Shelter and went looking at all manner of dogs. As we walked through the dog pen area (twice, to get a good look at all of the dogs), there was one dog who stayed back in the back corner of his stall, except for when we walked by. Both times we went past his stall, the dog walked up to the door and licked my wife’s hand, then went back to his corner after we walked by. He was a kind of small black dog, and my wife took as much of a liking to him as he did to her. After talking about it, we filled out the necessary paperwork, and a couple of days later we went and brought him home. We named our small black dog Cody.



On the Night Shift…

Published on May 2, 2013, by in General.

You’ll probably notice some posts at very odd times for the next few days. Our dog Cody had emergency surgery on Tuesday, and the wife and I are keeping weird hours as we try to keep an eye on the patient, who is confirming his rep as a weird-ass dog by behaving like an OCD tweaker and walking literally in circles until he drops from exhaustion – with the apparent intent of causing us to do the same. So far, that’s exactly what he’s doing. So here’s some odd bits that could be a bunch of short posts, but instead become parts of a longer one…

My New York Knicks failed to clinch their first-round series against the Boston Celtics last night, forcing the team to take another trip to Boston for a Game 6. I honestly thought the Knicks would get it done last night, but the consensus among experts was that the series would go 6 or 7. Which is probably a good reason why I’m not considered an NBA expert. But this year there are a lot of teams who were ‘supposed’ to lose (Rockets, Nets, Hawks) who are turning what were ‘supposed’ to be short series into real contests. Why they play the games, I guess.

The wife and I went to see Muse at Madison Square Garden a couple of weeks back (incredible show, BTW – I gotta start doing reviews again), and we were treated to seeing one of my Bands That I Beat The Drum For, Biffy Clyro. Sadly, Biffy’s plan to conquer America has been thwarted by Simon Neil coming down with bronchitis and the band having to back out of the opening slot for the remainder of the tour and go back home to Scotland. Stupid bronchitis.

In other news, the Right Wing’s War On Thought (hey, wingnuts get their so-called ‘War On Christmas,’ so why can’t I have one?) continues apace in this country. You could also call it their ‘War On The 21st Century,’ because they seem like they don’t like this century too much and would be happier living in the 18th or 19th. Dopes.

I had some other stuff, but this being awake in the middle of the night is kinda fucking with my memory. I’ll remember and post them later.


Tragedies re-enacted by kids

Published on April 30, 2013, by in Life in America.


This is a pretty audacious concept – a Canadian photographer stages re-enactments of some of the most brutal news stories in recent memories, using kids as actors. He’s got a pretty spot-on take on American media as well.

Q: It seems to me that the photos are viewed through an American news media lens. You’re Canadian—the closest any of the images come to a Canadian story is the seal clubbing. Did you choose to focus mostly on American media content?

A: It’s interesting that you say “American lens,” but I think you could also say that it’s a Canadian commentary on the American media being forcefed to us. American media in particular is creating sensationalized imagery in news stories. The way that they give us the news almost plays out like a movie trailer, as if the news story is fiction.

That’s probably the most understated yet scathing critique of American news media that I’ve ever read.


Happy 20th Birthday, World Wide Web!

Published on April 30, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

20 years? Already?

Twenty years ago today, something happened that changed the digital world forever: CERN published a statement that made the technology behind the World Wide Web available to use, by anybody, on a royalty free basis.

That decision, pushed forward by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, transformed the internet, making it a place where we can all freely share anything and everything—from social media updates, through streamed music, to YouTube videos of cats. It has fundamentally shaped the way we communicate.

Oh, and here’s the first web site ever, if you can access it. Right now it’s loading like I’m trying to hit it on a 28.8 modem. Not sure if they’re being ironic or what.


Boston Marathon Bombing

Published on April 15, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

A pair of explosions have rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Video of the blast here.

Not gonna speculate as to the motives behind this. I’ll wait until the figurative smoke clears.


It’s been a long time coming…

Published on April 15, 2013, by in Sports.

I am a New York Knicks fan.

Since 1999 (the last time the Knicks got to the NBA Finals), I have been subjected to one mediocre squad after another. Toxic locker rooms. Scandal. Turmoil. Laughing stock status in our division, our conference, the entire league. Injury. Futility. Frustration. Ineptitude. Defeat. Ignominy. It has been a very difficult 14 years. The team has made two playoff appearances in the past ten years, and have won a whopping one game. As someone who became a Knick fan during the Patrick Ewing era – a time during which the Ewing-led Knicks made 14 consecutive playoff appearances and got to the NBA Finals twice – the Knicks teams since 2000 have been incredibly hard to watch.

Today, I am happy to be able to say that things have changed.

The Knicks have clinched the Atlantic Division title (first time since 1994). They have won 50 games (first time since 2000), 30 home games (also last accomplished in 2000), and clinched the second seed, guaranteeing home court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs (first time since 1994). They’ve got a player who is a legitimate MVP candidate (Carmelo Anthony), a player who is in the thick of discussions for 6th Man of the Year (JR Smith), a coach who should be in the mix for Coach of the Year (Mike Woodson), and a GM who should also be considered for GM of the Year (Glen Grunwald).

The team that was assembled this season is an odd one – a weird mix of stars (Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler), a supporting cast drawn from overseas (JR Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland), and grizzled veterans (Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kenyon Martin). The team literally has not been 100% healthy all season – the entire front court has been out for the past week – but with the exception of Stoudemire, everyone is expected back for the playoffs.

The Knicks’ first round opponent will be the Boston Celtics, who swept a banged-up Knicks team in 2011. I’m in the mood for a little revenge, and I’m sure the Knicks are as well. This team is poised to go deep into the playoffs, and you can bet the savings account that I will be watching every single game. I stood by this team through the bad times, and I will be living it up now that they’re back to being a serious contender.


Haven’t we already advanced past this?

Published on April 5, 2013, by in Life in America.

Umm… WTF, Georgia??

Students at one south Georgia high school share classrooms and sports fields; but, they don’t share the same prom.

The school holds one prom for white students and another for students of color.

“We’re embarrassed, it’s embarrassing, yeah it’s kind of embarrassing,” said student Stephanie Sinnot.

Stephanie and three other friends say they do everything together, except go to prom.

“We are all friends. That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together,” said student Keela Bloodworth.

In a world full of color, Wilcox County High School still sees things as black and white.

“There’s a white prom and then we have our integrated prom,” said Bloodworth.

The girls said if any race other than Caucasian tries to attend the white prom, that student would probably be escorted off the premises by police. That was the case last year when a biracial student was turned away by police.

It’s been that way for as long as anyone can remember; and, it doesn’t stop at prom.

Homecoming is also segregated.

Ms. Sinnot has it right. Embarrassing.


Why can’t we have radio like them?

Published on April 3, 2013, by in Music.

I’ve got the luxury of internet radio here at Casa B3, and as a result I’m not bound by terrestrial constraints and can listen to stations like XFM London and Phantom 105.2 out of Dublin. And the way these stations approach the concept of ‘rock radio’ serves to highlight the dismal state of radio in this country, and more specifically the state of radio here in New York, the supposed ‘media capital of the world.’

This city and its surrounding area have probably more media outlets than any other city in the country, yet suffers from some of the blandest programming in the world. We’ve got Top 40 stations, the less said about them the better. We’ve got Classic Rock stations who haven’t budged off their playlists since the last Led Zeppelin tour (which is fine if you like that, but totally unsatisfying if you want to hear newer stuff). And those rock stations that include new artists are by and large automated stations with just about zero personality.

Of course, there are a few good college stations in the area that provide diverse programming – but don’t have much reach because they don’t have a commercial bankroll, and often fall into an elitist mindset (I won’t mention any names, but I heard a DJ on a local college station who recently played a song by request, then spent five minutes complaining about it because he thought the song was over-produced).

When you compare all of this to XFM or Phantom, it becomes pretty depressing. Both stations’ playlists are diverse – you’re likely to hear a Guns N Roses tune right up next to a scrappy new act trying to break out. They support local acts and generate excitement for local shows, helping to elevate good locals to record deals. Their schedule offers shows that feature EDM or Metal or Acoustic stuff or New Age-y stuff. In short, these stations do everything that commercial constraints guarantee that corporate owned stations here will never do, because there would be no benefit to their bottom line if they did it.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a ‘get off my lawn’ post, it really isn’t. I could wax nostalgic about the days of ‘free form’ radio in this country and lament that it’s all been boiled down to basically cash transactions and cookie-cutter attitude at this point. But what’s done is done and radio culture here will probably get worse before it gets better. And given a choice, I’ll go with the stations that give me diversity, personality, enthusiasm and love for the medium. And those stations are few and far between in this country nowadays. God bless internet radio.


Talk about a Shot Heard ‘Round The World…

Published on April 2, 2013, by in Music.

On this day in 1958, Chuck Berry dropped a bomb…

And nothing was ever the same.