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David Sedaris on undecided voters [Oct. 20th, 2008|02:13 pm]
[Current Music |Sleater-Kinney - Youth Decay]

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.


http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2008/10/27/081027sh_shouts_sedaris
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My life is a sitcom, Part #34 [Oct. 19th, 2008|08:50 pm]
[Current Music |Los Campesinos! - We Are All Accelerated Readers]

Me: I've been meaning to ask, why does everything in the kitchen eventually get sticky?

Drew: I don't know. I've been wondering that myself.

Me: You know, you can tell me if you've been rendering hog fat. I won't get mad at you.

Drew: Actually, I make soap while you sleep.
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2008 [Jan. 1st, 2008|07:34 am]
[Current Mood |whoa]
[Current Music |Joy Division - Colony]

2008 is off to a cracking start.


Les Savy Fav, 4 a.m.


Debaser


Final song to sing along


-Paul
(who isn't sure whether to go to bed or to try to attempt the 36-hour day)
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Sign #14 that I should go out on Saturday nights [Dec. 15th, 2007|10:26 pm]
[Current Music |Wire - Pink Flag]

Look closely at my user icon. My befuddlement is due to the letters on the rack, drawn in a Scrabble match last spring.



Tonight, I'm playing Helena on Scrabulous, and I draw this:



I don't even want to think about the odds. That's not just bad luck; it's miraculously bad luck.

Paul
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Blake Herman [Dec. 5th, 2007|08:30 pm]
Echoing what Lauretta said:

Blake Herman died early Sunday morning. He had been fighting a terrible and rare cancer for about a year. He died in the presence of family and friends.

For any of you who would like to attend, there will be a memorial service in Farmville this Saturday, December 8, at 2:00. It will be held in the Hampden Sydney College Church, which is building number 13 on the campus map.The address is 849 College Road, Farmville, VA 23901. A reception will follow in Thompson Fellowship Hall. After that, family and friends will gather informally at his house with food, pictures, and guitar music played by his family.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Blake may be made to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, One Charles Center, 100 North Charles Street - Suite 234, Baltimore, Maryland 21201.
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Twin Cinema [Aug. 28th, 2007|01:23 am]
[Current Mood |tired]
[Current Music |The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno]

I'm exhausted from a trip to Virginia and Philadelphia this weekend. The only thing keeping me awake is The New Pornographers' third album, Twin Cinema, which is amazing and enormously better than their brand new record. If the single below at all appeals to you, then you need this album in your life.

The New Pornographers - "Sing Me Spanish Techno"

-Paul

P.S. And a dollar goes to whoever can name the figurine glimpsed in the pivotal scene of the video.
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Reconsidering the Smashing Pumpkins [Jul. 28th, 2007|11:09 am]
[Current Music |Smashing Pumpkins - Frail and Bedazzled]

The first turning point came five years ago when I threw Adore out my car window. At that moment, I left behind a comforting teenage fanhood, one of complete devotion to The Smashing Pumpkins. Between 1995 and 1999, I sponged up everything I could find from them, collecting all their EPs and box sets. I met my first girlfriend at a Smashing Pumpkins concert. From two of their song titles, I created the AOL screen name that I've kept for over a decade—a name that I carried over to my Livejournal (fortunately the name was cryptic enough to disguise its provenance).

A week after getting rid of Adore, I listened to Machina for the last time and barely touched another Pumpkins record in the few years since. I once half-heartedly listened to Siamese Dream, once my unrivalled Favorite Record Ever, but couldn't finish it. Thankfully, it wasn't terrible, but instead pretty dated, with the heavy distortion a telltale sign of its early-90s origins.

In the two years since I had my laptop, I never even bothered to import a Pumpkins CD to its hard drive. So with some trepidation, last year I put Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in my laptop. This was the first CD I ever bought.

The thing is, it's still pretty good. Its major weakness is the closing of the second CD, a problem easily remedied by iTunes. Unclick those last five songs, and you've a sprawling but not unwieldy album with a encouragingly strong proportion of good songs. Sure, some problems still exist. The production is awful; at some points its notes have been honed down to artificially sharp points—the high notes in "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" in particular make me physically recoil. Nevertheless, it happily remains in my iTunes library. I was reconciled with my past again. Sure their final records were largely dross (although the free Machina II nearly redeemed them), but on the whole, their whole career shouldn't be thrown in the trash.

But now they're back.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. This is a sham reunion. Wire, Mission of Burma, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr.: all of these bands' reunions have been welcomed because they brought together the original line-ups to great results. But for the Pumpkins, only Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain are present from the original band. But those two have been playing together for varying projects since the Pumpkins' breakup in 2000. Still, Corgan and Chamberlain pretty much single-handedly recorded Siamese Dream, so there's a basis for returning to the name. It's a bit of cheat, though.

So. Zeitgeist. The new album.

I was expecting a fucking embarassment. But it's not terrible. In fact, it's better than Machina. If this came out in 2000 instead of Machina, I probably wouldn't have left this band behind so bitterly. But, that's the point. It's 7 years too late. Where the aforementioned bands have recaptured their past magic, something's palpably missing here. Corgan's trying to overcome his past tendencies toward sentimentality that overwhelmed his last two albums, but he swings the pendulum too far in the other direction. Every song on this album tries to be a balls-out rocker. Even the ballads like "For God and Country" are all fuzzed out. Corgan has a range of songwriting talents—the later albums suffered from his failure to reign in the excesses that come from such a range, but in this case, the songwriting feels limited and by-the-numbers.

And that's not mentioning the dogs. "Starz" chugs along pleasantly enough until the bridge when Corgan's production-tricked-out voice pops out, intoning: "We. Are. Starz. We are. We. Are. Starz. We aaaaaaaaaare," sending this song plummeting into unintentional hilarity. "United States" tries to recapture their penchant for nine to ten minute epics, but feels stretched out, with a long forced breakdown in the middle.

It's not a total embarrassment, but The Smashing Pumpkins were already past their sell-by date when they first broke up.
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New music [Jul. 12th, 2007|10:13 am]
[Current Music |Bad Religion - Heroes and Martyrs]

This week, my favorite bands from past and present released new albums. Although I usually hate AOL, this site has the entirety of these new albums streaming all week long.

Interpol Our Love to Admire

This one's been talked up and down all over the internet. In an interview one member claimed that now that they used a keyboard, it's like a whole new member of Interpol. "Horns, extended outros, strings, an oboe, and album art featuring more than three colors-- welcome to the new world of Interpol," says Pitchfork. Having my expectations at once lowered by some lackluster reviews and raised by the awesome single "The Heinrich Maneuver," I listened carefully.

You know what? It's an Interpol album. It's exactly what it says on the label. Not a huge break from the past or a whole new band. It sounds exactly like you'd expect, not quite as good as Antics or Turn on the Bright Lights, but nothing terrible. Any changes from previous albums are nuances.

Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Very good. Didn't sound like much at first, but it really grew on me. The whole album is streaming here at the Merge record site and is well worth a listen. Spoon's really hitting its stride. I saw them last night in Battery Park City, and they sounded a lot better than when I saw them a few years ago.

Bad Religion New Maps of Hell

Lord, this is samey. It's all the same good but forgettable punk song, and this from someone who's listened to their first 12 albums.

I was a huge BR fan around 1999, right when they were going through a patch of lackluster albums after the departure of Brett Gurewitz, one of their main songwriters. Since he returned to the band, they've put out a series of reinvigorated albums, of which this is the third. The thing is, though, I'm not 17 anymore. It's not bad, but not very memorable. It's all the same fast riffs, big vocab words, and lots of oozinahhs. I'm past it.

The Smashing Pumpkins Zeitgeist

Okay, I didn't even realize this was coming out this week until I saw a poster with the release date. I had been anticipating Spoon and Interpol and wasn't even paying attention to when this was coming out, which is largely the point. Nevertheless, this one will require its own entry.
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G.O.P. loses last popular member [Jun. 19th, 2007|10:07 pm]
[Current Mood |Woo!]
[Current Music |Fugazi - Closed Captioned]

Michael Bloomberg just made his nationwide popularity skyrocket in one move by fucking quitting the Republican party.

He's now an independent.

Bloomberg's been touring California and talking about the federal government in scathing terms: The country is "really in trouble," he said recently. "The federal government isn't out front— it's cowering in the back of the room."

For a man not running for president, he's sounding like someone I'd vote for in an instant.

Photo by Reed Saxon/AP
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Captain America, dead [Mar. 12th, 2007|10:26 pm]
[Current Music |The 1985 - R U Making Friends]

In a comic released last week, a sniper shot Captain America dead. Just before being his death, Captain America was being led in handcuffs up courthouse steps while being taunted and booed by a surrounding crowd.





How utterly appropriate.
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