Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, October 15, 2005 ]



So, those of you who've known me long enough, and/or paid attention to this blog, know that I occasionally recieve birthday/anniversary cards from the White House. Yep, that's what I said. These have been coming off and on for the past 6 or 7 years now, and here's what I know so far. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP:

-They always come from different cities, with no return addresses
-They're always in handwritten envelopes, with different handwriting and different versions of my name
-They come with no regularity
-They have all been some sort of form-letter greeting (birthday/anniversary/Xmas), all from past presidents (most from George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan). Despite this, they have never come on my birthday or Christmas, and I'm not married. There is no other sending pattern that I've noticed, but I tend to get three or four every year.
-Sometimes they're the genuine article, with perforated printing and embossed lining; other times, they're clearly photocopies.
-They occasionally have added gifts in them; I got a hat once, and a two-pocket White House folder (with a handwritten post-it saying "Thanks for your support").
-They used to go to my hometown address, and then - somewhere along the line - whoever's doing this found my Madison address, and started sending them there

Everything I have just said is true, and - believe me - I haven't the foggiest idea as to who's doing this, much less how or why. It would seem to be a prank, but it's about the most complicated prank I've ever heard of. It doesn't seem to be a machinery snafu, since the handwritten nature of the message suggests personal effort at least on some level.

Anyway, I got another one today. This time it was a card detailing the architecture and history of the "north front" of the White House. This time, the letter was sent from Rippon, West Virginia. The last one, which came about 6 months ago, was from Columbia, South Carolina, and the one before that from Columbus, Ohio.

I'm thinking of putting Mulder and Scully on speed dial. Maybe Neil Boortz heard all those nasty things I've been saying about him (see below).

On the box right now: Damian Marley, WELCOME TO JAMROCK.


Dove With Claws [3:00 PM]


Asshole of the week

It's been pretty fierce competition for that title lately, but we have a winner:

There's so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to begin. I believe, deep in my heart, that someday true-community politics will once again re-enter our national landscape on a significant level, but it's disheartening to realize the level of potential resistance. (By the way, much like the Bennett remarks last week, if Boortz - who is a public shit-for-brains of immense proportions - is saying it, you know there are a lot of people who believe it.)

On the box right now: Beach Boys, SURF'S UP: THE POST-PET SOUNDS YEARS, Disc 2. This be a homemade collection I made a while back. God bless the Wilsons and their associates.


Dove With Claws [7:43 AM]

[ Tuesday, October 11, 2005 ]


And the walls came tumblin' down

-Bush's approval ratings are through the floor, even among people who previously strongly supported him.

-The political fall-out from the Harriet Miers nomination doesn't appear to be getting any better, with conservatives still pissed and Dems still lying in wait.

-Scooter Libby will probably be indicted, Karl Rove just might be, for the Plame case.

-Tom Delay has been indicted, Bill Frist just might be, for financial improprieties.

-Polls suggest that several Republican incumbents (most deliciously, Rick Santorum) are in serious trouble with voters when it comes to the 2006 elections.

-The media's awake, with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann (increasingly an MVP of TV news) both doing powerful shows on the Plame case last night.

-Too bad that all we needed for this long-awaited return to political sanity was a combination of war, racism, indifference and treason.

On the box right now: The Band, A MUSICAL HISTORY, Disc 1. I'm finally getting around to this wonderful collection, which I saved until I could devote it proper attention. The first disc traces The Band's journey from roadhouse warriors to the manifestation of American myth. And they have a flat-out BRILLIANT Staple Singers knock-off, written by Robbie and sung by Richard Manuel, called "The Stones I Throw" that oughta be a political anthem.


Dove With Claws [5:24 PM]

[ Monday, October 10, 2005 ]



So, I had this weird dream...I was in the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Vince Vaughn was on stage, wearing a sharkskin suit and leading the crowd in a karaoke version of "Sweet Caroline."

Wait a minute, I wasn't dreaming...I was actually there, and it was actually happening. Vaughn's launched a "Wild West Comedy Tour," with four pretty funny comedians and different guest stars at every show. (Tonight, they were Justin Long, from ED and DODGEBALL, Kieran O'Donnell, from WEDDING CRASHERS, and Peter Billingsley, longtime Vaughn collaborator and - most importantly - Ralphie from A CHRISTMAS STORY.) Anyway, the show was actually quite enjoyable, even though the giggly-and-jiggly girls in the front row did nothing to disprove groupie stereotypes. Vaughn is as cool in the flesh as he is on screen, and - rare for a comedy show - all four stand-ups were good for more than a few laughs. Then there was the singing...

By the way, I can't hide my happiness at the fact that both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have been eliminated from the MLB playoffs. Go White Sox or Angels...I really don't care. Honestly.

On the box right now: Ojos de Brujo, BARI. Neo-flamenco from Spain. Rhythms that defy description, shaming even the best hip-hop tracks.


Dove With Claws [9:30 PM]

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 ]


The hit parade

Four songs I really, really like right now:

-"Soulful," Kanye West (feat. John Legend)
West did a really brilliant thing: he leaked a fake version of LATE REGISTRATION to the internet, consisting of outtakes and alternate versions, thus giving true fans two albums, while still forcing sales of the official album. This probably would have been a more snarky maneuver, if not for how great some of the "unofficial" material is. This song, built around a funky organ hook and a beat straight from church (or the club), is as good as anything 'Ye has put out, and - if he ever chooses to release it - he'll have another humongous hit with it. And he deserves it.

-"Joy," Bettye Lavette.
This version of Lucinda Williams' song, done by the great (and underappreciated) '60s soul singer Lavette, transforms the song from a fiery, piss-and-vinegar song about woman-scorned fury into - in a strange way - a history both of Lavette's personal journey and the story of 1960s soul. Lavette starts in Detroit "looking for her joy," then travels to New York, Memphis and finally Muscle Shoals, Alabama, still on the look-out for the "joy" that's been stolen from her. That travel plan, different from Lucinda's, parallels Lavette's recording career, as well as hitting four of the major centers of 1960s soul music. Since it's not an unreasonable definition of soul to say that it's people "looking for their joy," this song is now a historical document, hopefully to be used alongside Peter Guralnick's SWEET SOUL MUSIC, Gerri Hershey's NOWHERE TO RUN etc. (I ain't kiddin', either.) On top of that, it's a cranker of a track.

-"These Words," Natasha Bedingfield.
The white, British lovechild of Lauryn Hill and Joni Mitchell. This song is endlessly addictive, sort of a combo between Gwen Stefani's beats and Norah Jones' vocal textures. (With great lyrics, too.) Fantastic pop song.

-"I Predict A Riot," Kaiser Chiefs.
The kind of song that restores my faith in British rock and roll. A new-generation Clash track, with a fist-pumping chorus and politically-charged lyrics. Turn up the speakers, roll down the windows, and flip the finger to assholes of all stripes. People try to p-p-put us down...

On the box right now: Detroit Cobras, BABY.


Dove With Claws [2:27 PM]