Haiti, The Supreme Clot, vapid freak Heidi Montag…who needs all that when you’ve got more Small Town Police Blotter news! YAY!


Illegal substance: A 19-year-old man got into a verbal argument with his mother at the Rose Hill Safeway. The man was mad because his mother would not give him $100 so he took her car keys. The man was contacted at Lover's Package by officers. The man attempted to conceal approximately three grams of marijuana and then fled on foot. The man was then re-contacted in the parking lot of Safeway and actively resisted multiple officers and citizens attempting to help. The man was tased multiple times and eventually was taken into custody.

Burglary: A juvenile male subject allegedly entered a home near Foys Lake claiming that he needed bandages for an injured friend. There was in fact no such friend, and the youth now faces burglary charges.


Oily mess: A witness reported that he saw a man dump items from the back of his pickup truck onto a parking lot in the Bella Botega shopping center and that the man also poured oil all over the items before fleeing from the scene. No suspect information is available.

Possible break-in
: A resident of Newsom Lane called to report that a door was open to a vacant home next door. Police arrived on scene and shut the door.

Questionable activities: A resident of Angel Point Road was alarmed to notice that drivers have been using a pull-off near their home to stop and make phone calls.

Questionable activities: A clerk at a local convenience store became uncomfortable with a white vehicle with its lights on in the parking lot. The suspicious vehicle turned out to belong to the employee’s boss.

Questionable activities: A black vehicle that was parked on Swan Ridge Drive for two hours was gone when authorities arrived.

Questionable activities: Someone in Somers apparently saw a green and white “something” fall out of the sky. The object, also described as a “ball of fire with a tail,” could not be located.

Questionable activities
: Someone in Bigfork saw a bright red light in the sky.

Questionable activities
: After driving by a Bigfork bar, a “concerned citizen” called to report that people were drinking at said location.

Suspicious person
: A man walking down Highway 2 in West Glacier was dressed appropriately for the weather and was not intoxicated. The welfare check was a great success.


Neighbor dispute
: Neighbors on Magstadt Lane evidently had some issues regarding the placement of snow. All parties were counseled.

Questionable activities: A resident of Hungry Horse called to report that a neighbor, with whom they were engaged in a feud, was walking down the road. They were evidently advised by a lawyer to call every time this occurred.

Nuisance: Someone on Conley Drive claims that his neighbors and their guests intentionally shone their vehicle lights through his window.


Theft: Someone evidently stole a ladder from a construction truck parked at a convenience store and then walked across the street to pawn it. His blunder was caught on the store’s surveillance tape.

Fire: A young woman in an apartment building in the 3100 block of Harlem smelled smoke in the building and called 911. When police and firemen arrived, an officer began knocking on doors because it was not obvious where the fire was burning. A woman answered their knock, opening the door to reveal an apartment completely filled with dense smoke. She appeared confused. She told police she had been drinking gin throughout the day, began cooking Polish sausage on the stovetop, then fell asleep before it was done.

Injury: Juan Delatorre, 42, of the 3700 block of Ridgeland, broke a window so he could yell at people in front of his home, police said. He was treated at MacNeal for a cut hand.

Possession, Public Intoxication
: Callers reported two suspicious men walking in the 3000 block of Wesley and looking into people’s yards. Police stopped Ellezer Torres, 36, Westchester, and Joseph A. Alvarez, 34, of 3002 Wesley. Both reportedly exhibited slurred, incoherent speech. Police said Alvarez had a PCP scented cigarette, as well as a vial of PCP; he was charged with possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication. Torres was also charged with public intoxication and processed for an arrest warrant out of Lake County. Police recovered the vial of PCP from Alvarez’s coat pocket. According to the report, “upon seeing the vial, both Alvarez and Torres began to sayThis is bullsh!t” repeatedly”, then accused each other of ownership of the contraband.


Animal welfare
: Someone called to report that three stallions on Grande Vista Drive may have been wearing too-tight harnesses. The horses are in fact healthy and comfortable.

Animal welfare: A barking dog on Gunsight Loop had not been neglected but just liked to bark.

Animal welfare
: A mule was seen standing near a white house on Foothill Road. The mule may or may not have belonged on the property.

Loose dog: Highway 2 in Hungry Horse was momentarily occupied by a black dog.

Loose cat: According to a local resident, a cat is continually running wild on Cooperative Way.

Animal injury: In a tragic turn of fate, a vehicle struck and injured a turkey on North Hilltop Road. The turkey had been “taken care of” by the time authorities arrived on the scene.


Assault: After an ex-flame attempted to retrieve some of his belongings from her home, a woman on Meadow Court chased a man with a hatchet and struck him in the face with her hand.

Disorderly conduct
: After an episode of reckless driving, two motorists pulled to the side of Reserve Drive and yelled at each other.

Disorderly conduct with bodily fluids: Man referred to DA's office - A 34-year old man may wish he had kept his mouth closed during an incident that took place Jan. 5.

According to the police report, the man was arrested earlier in the evening at a bar in the Town of Oconomowoc for being disorderly and actively fighting with officers. He was brought to Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital by town police wearing a spit hood after spitting at two officers.

A nurse at the hospital said the hood was removed after the man calmed down. When the nurse gave him a sip of water, he spit it at her face.

Police are seeking to charge the man with expelling bodily fluids and the incident will be forwarded to the Waukesha County District Attorney's office for review.


Disorderly conduct: Luis M Garcia-Narvarro, 21, address not given, was charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly asked for sex after his Tarot card reading at the psychic establishment in the 2600 block of S. Ridgeland. Garcia-Navarro paid his fortune-telling bill of $40, but then made “lewd sexual comments” offering to pay for sex as well. The female psychic called police.


Death: Passersby found a non-responsive woman sitting in a wheelchair in front of a house in the 3400 block of Ridgeland with her keys and checkbook. A family member told police that the woman, age 59, said on the phone earlier that she was going to the corner for cigarettes.


Negligent driving and underage drinking: Officers found Evan Johnson, 20, of the Town of Mukwonago, and a 16-year-old Town of Mukwonago girl driving negligently on Phantom Lake at 1:36 a.m. Jan. 6. They were stopped and officers discovered they had both consumed alcohol. Both were charged with negligent operation and absolute sobriety.

Criminal damage
: Someone struck a car several times with a blunt object, breaking a rear window and a tail lamp and denting the vehicle parked in the 22700 block of Marianne Avenue during evening of Dec. 31. The cost of the damage is being determined.

And my favorite of the month…

Questionable activities
: A resident of Bigfork reports that several kids came onto her front porch and left a robot near her door.


With the Saturday sounds of the laundry and the dishwasher humming and bumbling away in the background, I read this excellent recent New Yorker article by Meghan O’Rourke today, and wanted to pass it on: Finding a better way to grieve:

The topic is one that I have often studied: death, grieving, and loss. Why my fascination with such a difficult topic, I am not sure, other than perhaps I like sometimes to delve into things that don’t have easy answers. I have not experienced unusual losses in my life; in fact, I have probably been luckier in that area than most people. Perhaps my interest is proactive -- to steel myself for harder days to come, because they surely shall. I just know that I feel some frustration with the overall mystery, denial, and isolation surrounding something that every single person on the planet must face.

For most people, thinking about the deaths of loved ones or of their own demii (I just made that word up right now, cool) is something to be completely ignored until the Grim Reaper is having a tea party on the front lawn. In other cultures, death is a much more open event, the process taking place in the home if fortunate and the street if not. It is not tucked away in a hospital or hospice with shifts of strangers coming by to deliver medicines, check machines, bringing DNR or Power of Attorney paperwork to sign and date. Is grief lessened when death is a more-integrated part of everyday life, when there is by necessity a need to see and accept what is happening because you can’t just drive away at the end of the day? When you see how death really is, do you fear it more or less?

I find it ridiculous that most people are ignorant of what actually will happen in the death process. No one tells you. Even your doctors won’t tell you unless you hound them mercilessly. You should know! Your body is all you’ve got and you should be an expert on all of its stages. There are a zillion books about pregnancy and birth, right? How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland is the only mainstream one I can think of that plainly talks about the physiological changes that take place during the most common causes of death. Man up and read it! If you have some real idea of what will happen to you or to a family member, perhaps you will be less shocked and able to work with the medical community to get the “good death” everyone hopes for. Own your decay as much as your bloom. That’s revolutionary.

But even more complicated is grief, and anyone who has gone through a major loss knows that. What O’Rourke’s article brings up is that the most current research about the grieving tells us it is an individual and unpredictable process – something I find pretty common-sense. “Process” might not even be the correct word, actually. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ famous “five stages” – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – are by no means linear, and by no means the end of the story. In most cases, there really isn’t a tidy wrap-up. A major loss leaves a hole. Grief can become less raw, rationalizations set in place, a necessary numbness achieved; the brain knows you can’t stay in extremes for too long, so it helps you cauterize the wound. But it is reasonable to expect that grief will remain to revisit. It is natural to assume that there will be bad days and good days, and that some things in life are irreplaceable, and we will always yearn for them in some way.

The discomfort of others weighs on us heavily. The world moves on, and wants you to come along at its pace. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes it is impossible. There are so many factors – personal resiliency, feelings of guilt, relief, hopelessness, support systems, other stressors/responsibilities – that go into coping with any loss. And loss does not just have to be from a death. Divorce or other romantic break-up, job loss, a close friend no longer close, an unattainable goal -- these can be just as devastating. We don’t know until we get there how we will feel, and then it comes down to learning how to live with loss. Not covering it up, not drowning it in drink or drugs or endless perseveration, but figuring out how to make some kind of new, good life with the cards dealt you.

So, are we born to suffer and die? Yup. We are also born to love and giggle and run and wonder and enjoy every single bit of the joyous mess that the world offers us.

I have to get back to the laundry now, but do read O’Rourke’s article, a thoughtful piece that covers a lot of interesting theories in its five pages. And because one of my healthy coping mechanisms in life is music, I will leave you with this, “Someone Great” by LCD Soundsystem.

I wish that we could talk about it,
But there, that's the problem.
With someone new I could have started,
Too late, for beginnings.
The little things that made me harassed,
Are gone, in a moment.
I miss the way we used to argue,
Locked, in your basement.

I wake up and the phone is ringing,
Surprised, as it's early.
And that should be the perfect warning,
That something's, a problem.
To tell the truth I saw it coming,
The way, you were breathing.
But nothing can prepare you for it,
The voice, on the other, end.

The worst is all the lovely weather,
I'm sad, it's not raining.
The coffee isn't even bitter,
Because, what's the difference?
There's all the work that needs to be done,
It's late, for revision.
There's all the time and all the planning,
And songs, to be finished.

And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming,
Till the day it stops
And it keeps coming,
Till the day it stops.

I wish that we could talk about it,
But there, that's the problem.
With someone new I could have started,
Too late, for beginnings.
You're smaller than my wife imagined,
Surprised, you were human.
There shouldn't be this ring of silence,
But what, are the options?

When someone great is gone.

We're safe, for the moment.
For the moment.


While Heather Mills-McCartney was divorcing Paul McCartney, did anyone refer to her as

"Peggy Sue?"


From Wednesday's autotune musings to Thursday's idea to Friday's completed audio/video mashup, you never know what you might find here. I've spent about a full day laughing like a hyena while making this (thanks wn for the help!) -- now you get the full-on glory of what it would have been like if Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono has sung in the studio together, and yes, those are real vocals, and yes, that's really the Beatles jamming away in the background. Please to enjoy!


I try not to be too cynical. Conan O’Brien doesn’t like cynics, and I like Conan, so I do try not to be too rolleyes and hopelessly grim. The Supreme Court of our dear United States of AAAA-murrrica on January 21st in CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, however, wrenches the cynic out of my core. If you are unfamiliar with this major reversal in legal precedent, here is the short version: corporations and unions can now spend all the money they would like to on American political elections. My immediate thought upon hearing this decision was, oh great, now they can just go above board rather than under the table, whoopee, big deal. It’s been a long time now that our political process has been all about who has the most money, the most influential backers, the most connections, the best catch phrases, and the nicest teeth. You’d have to be a fool to think there aren’t constant deals being made by the big players who want and need things from our government. No one gets to prominence by standing alone. It isn’t possible. But in this decision, the Court has just given the key to the candy store to the kids with the most money, and you can be quite sure those kids will buy up every last gumdrop there is to be had.

It’s depressing. Common sense would tell anyone, I would think, that when you give more power to the powerful, the inevitable outcome is corruption and steam-rolling. In a country that is supposed to protect the rights of all its citizens, to have all voices be heard and count for something, this decision will essentially snuff out the sound of anyone who doesn’t have the money to play the game, even more than it was like this already. Unions and Big Biz know very well how to influence the masses – it’s their specialty, after all – and they know that most people won’t be looking at their pretty ad campaigns with a skeptic’s eye. It’s not enough to have their money, you’ve got to own their votes, too. Then you’ve locked this place up, huh?

Right-wingers will say waaa waaa waaa, about time you liberals stopped infringing on the rights of businesses to participate in elections as they wish, to assert their positions in any way they like. It’s a capitalist country, free speech, First Amendment, yadda yadda. Well, sorry, even a 1st grader on the playground knows that if you give the 4th grade bully unlimited and unrestricted access to the nerdy kids, the bully is going to have a beat-down festival every day, all day, until there are no nerds left, access is curtailed, or the nerds organize a mutiny. COMMON SENSE.

I like that Obama had the guts to call out the 5 SCOTUS turds who voted for this idiocy in his State of the Union speech. Samuel Alito may have shook his head and mumbled at the president’s audacity, which I also like. Why pretend to all get along, and that everything is A-OK? This is a huge ugly misstep by the court, and someone in power should show anger about it, and right to their faces. You, yes YOU sitting RIGHT THERE, YOU FUCKED UP AND THE WORLD IS GONNA HEAR ABOUT IT. You sold out the last tiny bit of fairness in the election process there was, you agenda-led creeps, THANKS SO MUCH. I would have been completely thrilled if Obama and Alito had jumped up and had a fist fight over it. Best political moment ever, and the most honest. Hey, most powerful wins, huh? Isn’t that FAIR? Hmmmm?

Round One goes to Daddy Big Bucks. Round Two? Catch me on a less-cynical day.


Today I heard this, from Paul McCartney's recent "Good Evening New York City" live album:

And within the first few seconds I thought...




Was I crazy? Does anyone else hear it on there? Yup. And plenty of other folks are as appalled as I am. WHY, PAUL, WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?

I think I know the answer, I am sad to say. It's not that Paul's vocals are so off that they need correction. He's the Pitchmeister, even in his 60s now. The answer is that the modern buying public has become so accustomed to hearing this horrid effect on almost every piece of Top 10 pop sold now, that they LIKE IT. It's on Paul's album to give it a more "modern" vocal sound, and therefore catch the ears of younger buyers who might think it cooler, even if subconsciously so. Even an ex-Beatle has to think about sales. Well, not really, but he wants to.

Now, if autotune had been around for Wings...


Dan Deacon, satirizing his Long Island breathren while randomly and soberly channel surfing, turned into this lovely acidy video by Liam Lynch three years later. Very quotable!


[Scene: An urban coffeehouse, mood-lit and filled with ponderous art and Indonesian jazz music from the 1960s, so cool that it has no name. David Bowie sits at a small wooden table hand-carved by indigenous forest dwellers, sipping from a delicate porcelain cup a rare tea known to increase life span in rural Asian women. I enter.]

Me: (spotting Bowie, and strolling over to his table) Mr. Bowie? Big fan. Love your work.

David Bowie: (glancing up with some irritation and a small smile) Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Cheers. (looks away to sip tea and read French newspaper)

Me: You know, as long as I’ve got you here, there’s something I always wanted to mention to you. (pulling up a chair to the table)

David Bowie: (mildly peeved and alarmed) Is that right.

Me: You know the “Live At Santa Monica ‘72” album?

David Bowie: Mmm.

Me: The bass guitar throughout is sharp. Out of tune.

David Bowie: (long pause) That’s it, huh.

Me: Yup.

David Bowie
: Well, that was some time ago. What were you then, 20?

Me: (strong glare) 10.

David Bowie: Oh. Well. What would you like me to do about it?

Me: Oh, nothing. I’m just saying.

David Bowie: You’re saying, huh.

Me: Yeah. Saying. I would think a professional would like to know these things.

David Bowie: (tensing visibly) Do you. Do you then.

Me: (tensing in return) Yes, I do.

David Bowie: Well, I don’t care for your boots. How about that shit?

Me: (offended) Well! You don’t have to get all pissy and personal! I am just SAYING! SHARP!

David Bowie: Take your sharp, ma’am, and poke your eardrums with it!

Me: (rising angrily) YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME, BOWIE?

David Bowie: (rising and tossing his chair to the ground) YOU’RE ON!


David Bowie

[A grappling fight ensues, with the teacup wobbling and falling to the ground in pieces, and many cell phone videos and Tweets occurring. The coffeehouse bouncer, Armand, rushes over to break up the fight.]

: (grabbing both fighters by their collars, pushing them out the coffeehouse door) BOTH OF YOU! OUT OF HERE! THAT’S THE THIRD TIME WITH YOU GUYS THIS WEEK! NEXT TIME, YOU ARE BOTH BANNED FOR A MONTH!


David Bowie: Her boots SUCK!!!

Armand: OUT!!

[David Bowie and I straighten our clothes, glare at each other, and begin to walk opposite ways on the busy city sidewalk.]

Me: (muttering) What an ego that man has. Tuning is important. HUH!

David Bowie: (muttering) Wait until I comment on her haircolor. Just wait.


Pop music, once considered as disposable as a snotty Kleenex, has for the last couple of decades been increasingly examined by scholars. There have always been people who have written about rock and pop in a serious way – Paul Williams, Greil Marcus, Dave Marsh come to mind as some of the originals – but it’s taken a bit more time for such musings to infiltrate into the colleges and universities of the world past a course or two. I had the pleasure to take a couple of music classes at the University of Colorado from pop-folk pioneer/musicologist Dick Weissman. You can see him here playing banjo with the Journeymen. You may also note his bandmates as John Phillips, soon to form the Mamas and Papas, and Scott McKenzie, who would go to San Francisco to put some flowers in his hair:

Dick and I got along well – he was smart and crusty and funny and had good stories to tell, and I think he appreciated having someone like me there. At that time I was about 10 years older than his average student, knew my rock history, and didn’t stare cluelessly into the air most of the time. He had a wicked set of rolleyes that he delivered with regularity, that I recall.

Anyway, I was prodded into thinking about all this as I read the news today, oh boy, that if you are a lucky man (or woman) you can make the grade at Liverpool Hope University. This year, they are offering a Masters Degree in “The Beatles, Popular Music, and Society.” Yes, that is right – you can now obtain an M-Beatles-A. Of course, if I had a way to do this I so would, because I would enjoy it and be delighted to call myself a Master of Beatles and would do so at every opportune and inopportune moment. Here’s the degree description:
“A unique opportunity to study in the city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles and with access to leading Popular Music academics and Beatles specialists, this MA is the only one of its kind in the UK and the world.

This MA will examine the significance of the music of the Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities; by doing so it will suggest ways to understand popular music as a social practice, focusing attention on issues such as the role of music in the construction of regional identities, concepts of authenticity, aesthetics, meaning, value, performance, and the use of popular music as a discursive evocation of place. Furthermore, in a consideration of popular music as a text, popular music semiotics will also be employed.

This MA will be of interest to those working in the fields of popular music studies, cultural studies, social anthropology, politics, gender studies, and musicology, among others. Such a course is an essential addition to the discipline of Popular Music Studies.”

What would I do with my M-Beatles-A? WHO CARES? It’s just awesome, absurd, and worthy all on its own. Maybe I could take my new-found stamp of academic approval and write up more college courses in the same vein. Hmmm. How about these?

The Rolling Stones: A Study in Gerontology

This course will peruse the life choices that the members of the Rolling Stones have taken in an attempt to deconstruct, identify, and quantify successes and incompatibilities in the process of aging. Modules will include “Fashion Models: A Renewable Resource,” “Preservative Aspects of Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Heroin,” “Start Me Up: Ripping Off James Brown Moves For Muscle Vitality,” “Golden Years Portfolio and Estate Planning: Commercials, Ringtones, and Lawsuits,” and “Rock Stars Should Not Go Swimming.”

Cultural Implications of The Heavy Metal Mullet:

How did the mullet, a hairstyle that by its very short-yet-long construction belies indecision in a chaotic world of choices, become a classic symbol of rock music solidarity? Guest lecturer: Cletus Packerd from the CD Department, Wal-Mart, Hueytown, Alabama.

Rock Dances: An Artist’s Soul In Action

Students will view popular music performers to critically examine in this Movement Studies class. A major research paper and personal interpretive dance performance will conclude the course. Past student works have been “Feminism in the 1980s: Pat Benatar’s Shoulder Shimmy As Metaphor For Male Oppression,” “Axl Rose vs. Davy Jones: A Horizontal Slide Comparison,” “Too Cool To Move, Too Cool To Breathe: Joy Division’s Legacy, “ and “Rock’s Richest Booty Shakers, From Tina Turner to Shakira.”

Ah, if only I didn’t live thousands of miles away from Liverpool. Sigh.




It is fair to note that the French are not generally known for their great rock n’ roll bands. As the French are easily offended, I will modify that statement to say that Daft Punk are cool and Francoise Hardy was very pretty. Why France didn’t make more breakout bands I am not sure, other than rock n’ roll is not original to France and therefore perhaps was late in being accepted in that culture because France is all about original culture. So it is novel in the big ol’ garrulous birthplace of rock, the U.S. of A., to see the French band Phoenix win such big success. I went to see them perform at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle last night to a sold-out and rapturous crowd, who were not wearing berets or throwing wheels of Brie whatsoever.

The line to get in the club was very long last night, which was easily avoided by us smart over-21 folks by going into the separate bar/restaurant prior to the door time of 8PM. After a few minutes, a table opened up with one of the seats having a pretty good sightline to the stage, an excellent backup score. The Showbox Sodo is kind of like a big barn, with a long flat concrete floor and very high ceilings with lots of heavy wooden exposed beams but hopefully no dung to step in. A cool place, but challenging for us shorter folks sometimes to see the band on the floor. Seeing is good. As I ate my curried chicken sandwich and drank my cup of beer, I watched the people file in. The show was general admission, so people crowded in at the front immediately. This was a really young crowd, too – lots and lots of teenage girls and dudes in some modified hipster gear. I would have worn this t-shirt with a smirk, although I too, I admit, was wearing skinny jeans.

Phoenix has been releasing material for 10 years now, but broke though in the States last year with their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, not in small part for several of the songs being pulled for use in some hit movies and big commercials, and appearances by the band on all the late-night TV shows. It’s a very good record, with perfect modern pop production, catchy and cool, sort of like the Strokes with an accent, Jet without the swagger, or a lighter and less-synth-heavy MGMT. It’s very likable and current, without the band resorting to autotune on every vocal, writing monosyllabic lyrics about morons for morons, or putting on sequined diapers and eyeliner and calling it art.

Having seen The Soft Pack earlier in the day, I wanted to see them again because I really like them duhhh, so I made my way down to the floor, which was The Hard Pack. Still, not too hard. I don’t know if they were really the best choice of openers for the gaggle of high school girls in front waiting to swoon over Phoenix – too loud, too punky, somewhat reserved as performers in comparison – but the crowd was polite to encouragingly enthusiastic towards them, which is a win in any opening band’s book. Mid-screen, I believe, is a Wookie.

After their set, more young ladies and their dates began crowding up, so I moved closer off to the side to try for a better shot. How I wish sometimes I could tolerate wearing KISS platform boots or something. As I waited, I was treated to the sight of what appeared to be either an albino or alien couple who were so very moved in anticipation of seeing Phoenix that they had to make out the whole time, including the guy getting on his knees and biting albino/alien woman’s butt. You think you’ve seen it all, realize you haven’t, and so wish you were blind sometimes. I knew I wanted to catch “Lisztomania” for vid, so I distracted myself by Googling recent Phoenix setlists on my phone. Aha! First song up! The camera couldn’t get a good focus with the start in the dark, but the audio is good.

You see my nemesis there to the left: the Silver Tower of Blockage. Ah, well. S’OK. I hung out there for about half the show with the happy boppers, then decided to move back to the table. It was nice to have the change of perspective, and to get a drink. Love the dual drummers on this – very cool and very visually-dramatic too.

I watched the crowd, dancing and singing along and putting their hands up even all the way back on the floor, and smiled in a benign-Queen-Victoria way down upon them. Phoenix put on a tight show. They seemed to really enjoy playing very much which is something I always like to see, and were very appreciative of the crowd’s love. I am betting lots of people went home saying that was one of the best shows evah. It’s a good time for Phoenix: young, French, talented, and making it bigtime in the most major of markets without sleazy Serge Gainsbourg as your manager or something. For me as a more casual fan of the band, the live show seemed to miss the sparkle and sweetness of the albums, the qualities sort of drowned by thump, but that’s not a complaint, just a noted difference. Some bands I want roar, some I want a bit more nuanced.

I ducked out just a bit before the end of the show to avoid the leaving crowd as well as timid and/or barreling teen drivers, because je suis un femme américain futé.


If I were a hunter, I would take my kids out on the weekends to teach them how to blow a woodland creature to bits and drink beer. If I were a knitter, I would teach them how to knit, then insist that they knit all their own clothes and shoes. If I were a carpenter, you would be a lady. But I am none of these things -- I am someone who goes to see concerts, so at some point I take my kids to see concerts, if they would like to go along. Today was a momentous day in the life of tiny MissSeven: her very first real rock 'n roll event, provided by Seattle's Sonic Boom Records and California-based indie band The Soft Pack.

She had known that I was planning to see the Soft Pack open for Phoenix tonight at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle, and was a little bummed. Phoenix is her favorite band, currently ahead of the Beatles at #2 and Vampire Weekend at #3 -- she's got an ear for good pop. It's an all-ages show, but as it's a club and a late night, she's a little too young for that. When I mentioned that the Soft Pack was doing an in-store appearance this afternoon, she was excited and asked to go along. She, like me, is a big fan of their current single, "Answer To Yourself." Sure, why not, let's go I said, and smiled when she decided to rock out her outfit with a cute hat and a pink sparkly scarf. A pink purse containing her very own earplugs finished the look, and we got to the store in plenty of time to peruse the CDs and records (a good lesson in alphabetization). I pointed out the Kinks box set that I worked on to her, and she smiled up at me.

Soon enough, the band was setting up -- time to adjust the Hearos in the ears, an odd feeling for her I am sure.

WHAM! I expected them to be loud, and THEY WERE. I even broke out my own Hearos, so that tells you something. I kept checking in with MissSeven as she seriously watched the set and futzed with her earplugs. All good, she said. She clapped after every song like, well, like a little girl. I was digging it myself -- they have tons of great energy and power and songs that kind of sneak up on you and you find yourself humming or singing along. Supah cooool.

After the short set, raffle numbers were announced to win a couple sets of show tickets for tonight and we were one number off. ARGH! MissSeven said with a huge smile, we almost won! She said she was keeping the blue raffle ticket as a souvenir. She and I went up to Matt and Matty and thanked them for a great set, and they were as nice as could be, thanking us for coming out and mentioning a return to the area in April. It was a good little turn-out there at Sonic Boom for the band and enthusiastic, too.

We further celebrated by walking over to Cupcake Royale to enjoy a lunch of cupcakes, milk, and a big yummy Stumptown latte. When we got home, MissSeven decided to give all the details about her rocking to Mr11, including the near-miss on the raffle and that the show "was really, really cool and fun."

Thank you Sonic Boom and the Soft Pack for making the day.


Ah, yes, 1976. America’s bicentennial year. Unremarkable president Gerald Ford was replaced by unremarkable president Jimmy Carter, Legionnaire’s Disease caused people to ask, “Are Legionnaires like Shriners or Masons or what?”, and Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase battled it out at Wimbledon, causing headband sales to soar. I turned 14 years old, and morose for the first time in my life. Other than the sinking realization that the world was not my oyster and that our family’s “temporary” move to an isolated flood-prone rural swamp was going on five years with no escape in sight, I blame my depression on music. 1976 was a horror for me as a pop fan. I had waited all this time to become a teenager so I could take full advantage of the awesomely cool teen world my ‘60s upbringing had promised me. Discotheques playing the Beatles and the Stones and garage rock singles and smokin’ hot soul music! Miniskirts and white boots! What did I get instead? Disco, with mind-numbingly moronic useless songs with the same awful beat and stupid lyrics, “rock” songs that were even more useless and moronic (and that is really saying something), and the unflattering-to-everyone and stodgy midi dress and fake Frye boots. Oh, how it hurt.

I fought back as best I could. I railed against the happy-pap sounds to anyone who would listen, but mainly everyone seemed…happy. I tried to find music I liked, but it was hard. I read about interesting bands in my rock mags, but I had almost no way to hear them in 1976. The record stores I had occasional access to stocked mainly the Top 50 at best, and I had no money at all to buy records on spec. It would take another year or two for the early punk progenitors to get to my house. Most of the FM stations were strongly moving away from the creative DJ model to the AOR robot, and my radio reception for the couple of college/independent stations was sometimes OK-but-crackly, but more often just static. And my beloved AM radio? Done for, and never to return.

Now imagine this. My life, in 1976, is school. I hate school. My school is also seven miles away. This seven-mile schoolbus ride takes almost an hour after I get on the bus, driving from farm to farm. In the morning, it is usually before the sun is up that I board, exhausted and surly with wet long hair in frigid temperatures. In the afternoon, all I want to do is escape and go home, and it takes 30 minutes after the last school bell rings for the bus to even arrive to pick me up for the interminably-long ride back to the stinking swamp. Now add in this: dipshits fighting and yabbering and throwing food, opening and lowering the bus windows in any weather, screeching little voices and spitballs and cootie catchers, puffy parkas and backpacks and slushy boots everywhere. And on top of that, the tight Top 20 bus radio sounds of WOKY-AM in 1976, the same songs played over and over and over and over and over and over and I can’t escape. I think the bus driver, surely a prototype for South Park’s Mrs. Crabtree, cranked it up and left it on just to drown us all out.

Here are all the U.S. #1 pop songs from 1976. You tell me how this wasn’t the bottom of the barrel. I will sort them for you:


"Saturday Night" - Bay City Rollers


"Convoy" - C. W. McCall
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" - Paul Simon
"Disco Duck" - Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots


"Love Rollercoaster" - Ohio Players
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) - The Four Seasons
"Love Hangover" - Diana Ross
"Afternoon Delight" - Starland Vocal Band
"Tonight's The Night" - Rod Stewart


"Love Machine" - The Miracles
"Disco Lady" - Johnnie Taylor
"Boogie Fever" - The Sylvers
"You Should Be Dancing" - Bee Gees
"(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" - KC and the Sunshine Band
"Play That Funky Music" - Wild Cherry
"A Fifth of Beethoven" - Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band


"Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross
"Theme from S.W.A.T." - Rhythm Heritage
"Welcome Back" - John Sebastian


"I Write the Songs" - Barry Manilow
"Let Your Love Flow" - The Bellamy Brothers
"Silly Love Songs" - Paul McCartney & Wings
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" - Elton John & Kiki Dee
"If You Leave Me Now" - Chicago
"Rock'n Me" - Steve Miller Band


"Kiss and Say Goodbye" - The Manhattans

It’s possible that some days I may have cried in my pillow about this, or punched it, I don’t remember. I just didn’t understand how anyone could like this stuff, or how everything went so downhill. I took it all very personally, as dramatic self-absorbed 14-year-old girls would. This shit sucked, and I worried that this was how it was going to stay forever. I thought I would have to bury myself in all my old records and buy earplugs for the bus. There was always dumb garbage pop in any year, I knew that, but holy hell. 1976 was BAD.

But here we are. I made it through. 1976 passed away, thankfully, music choices improved over the next few years to once again include fun stuff that wasn’t sleazy and stupid (in the bad sense of sleazy and stupid), and rock music got its balls back, at least to some degree. I got my mom and dad to drive me the seven miles back and forth to school when I announced that the bus was KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH ITS SONG. I got out of the swamp in 1983, the temporary move that lasted 12 years. Now I am not chained to crap-pop; it’s easy to find all kinds of new and cool music from the ease of the interhaps.

For all I know Mrs. Crabtree is still circling the farms in her long yellow bus, blasting Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and Adam Lambert, stone-deaf.


This is my kind of guy. Brilliant!


Reposted from Facebook, about Sir Douglas Quintet keyboardist Augie Meyers:
Dear Fans and Friends,

Our friend, legendary Texas musician Augie Meyers has been in need of a transplant kidney for some time now. He is on a regular dialysis schedule that has kept him going but time is of the essence for someone to step forward and donate a kidney for Augie.

On May 30th, 2010 Augie turns a young 70 years of age and is working on some of the greatest music of his career for all of us to enjoy. Sadly, when he turns 70 he will no longer be able to be on the kidney donor list unless someone donates one specifically for him. There will be no financial cost to the donor; all of the expense would be covered under Augie's insurance plan. We just need someone to step forward, willing to donate a kidney to help our friend. Please help.

Interested parties and all inquiries please call:

Diane Tarpey
Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
San Antonio, Texas

Download a PDF flier to help spread the word.

Pass the word on if you can. He's a good guy.


These corrupted YouTube clips from the movie "The Downfall" never fail to make me laugh. Bitte genießen!


Some people have just no problem lying like the filthy, matted, wire-worm infested rugs that they are. The cover of the current issue of rug catalog, Star magazine:

Yes, that's mental case Nadya Suleman, otherwise known as Octomom there. Actually, she is the birth mother of 14 children, let us keep this in mind. It's very important for Ms. Suleman to let us know that not only is she a miracle of reproductive (and medically and ethically unsound) science, but also was able to give birth to all of these children and seemingly erase all traces of the severe strain such expansion put on her body,NATURALLY! Why, there she is in a tiny red bikini posing for money on the cover of a gossip magazine. All those kids and her demented ego need to be fed somehow.

Let me remind you of Ms. Suleman's former size:

Now, let us restate two things we know about human skin:

1. Stretch marks are the result of the skin's rapid and/or large expansion that exceeds the tissue's ability to remain intact. These marks remain permanently on the skin although they may fade and decrease in depth over time.

2. Another effect of an expansion of skin during pregnancy or weight gain is that once you stretch the skin out to its limits, when the woman returns to a normal weight, the skin's elasticity is permanently compromised, which results in hanging excess skin.

There are certainly cases of women who have been fortunate enough to avoid stretch marks or noticeably-bagged stomach skin. This has a great deal to do with their particular genetic good luck regarding skin elasticity and slow/moderate weight gain rather than fast/huge. Octomom was not one of them. Her marks are visible in that pregnancy picture and it would be completely impossible that after such body trauma that her stomach skin would be able to be as it was prior to having kids.

In other words, there is NO WAY for Ms. Suleman to have exercised her way into that bikini, unless it is the most photoshopped picture ever taken. Don't trust my word; any doctor would be happy to confirm it. Laser, lipo, tummy tuck is what happened. Why she felt the need to lie about it, I don't know. She still would have gotten her Star cover. But she's creepy and crazy, so there we go.

Nadya Suleman, Rug.


I dunno, man. Hollywood movies and me, we just don’t get along too well. I am told that I expect too much. Do I? Here is what I want for my 7 or 8 bucks or whatever it is now:

1. I want to be entertained. I feel this is a very reasonable thing. These people are professionals, after all, and whether the movie is a comedy, drama, documentary, or a let’s-blow-stuff-up-real-good thing, I want to feel like the experience was rewarding in some way, that I was glad I went, that I learned something or emotionally connected with something or that I was dazzled by its beauty or that I laughed hard enough to be able to say, “Man, that was funny.”

2. I want to be taken in. For that 90 minutes or so, I want to be thinking of nothing else but the story of the movie. I want your movie to make me forget about my laundry waiting at home and the coughing guy in the back row of the theater. How I don’t want to be dragged back to reality by gaping plot holes, flat characters, poor continuity, total lack of detail, or construction so predictable that you can figure out what’s going to happen in the whole movie 20 minutes in.

3. I want decent popcorn and a bottle of water that isn’t 5 damn dollars.

So this brings me to the movie I saw a couple of nights ago, “Up In The Air,” starring George Clooney and directed by Jason Reitman, who also wrote the screenplay. I went because it was rated pretty highly and the subject – a man who spends most of his time traveling around the country firing people – seemed to have a lot of good stuff to mine. It turned out to be the most frustrating kind of movie for me: a good film that could have been so much better, if if if. It drives me absolutely wild. I cannot understand how the Hollywood folks can spend millions and millions of dollars on all these movies and then not do their best to make sure it is tight, believable, and that they have gotten every last bit out of it they can. Why I don’t understand this is because I don’t understand a basic function of the entertainment business in general – that “good enough” is truly good enough for most people. If I had my name on a project in 5-ft.-high letters on screens all over the world, a permanent expression of my best work, I would do everything I could – everything – to assure it really was my best work.

I’m not going to go through the whole plot here – you can find that on or such – I’m just going to mention a couple things that just stopped me from buying into “Up In The Air,” which stopped me from fully enjoying the film in the end. (If you haven’t seen the movie and want to, don’t read this now because I will be writing stuff that will irritate you as you view the film. Come back later.)

Let’s start with the casting of George Clooney in this film. Why did it feel like, hey, let’s pop George in here, that’s guaranteed bank and he kind of fits the character, in that he is a man. But come on now. The character of Ryan Bingham, a guy who has almost completely turned his back on any kind of personal relationship or commitment in order to live his life out in the comparatively-orderly comfort of airports, rental cars, hotel rooms, and office space, would not be the irrepressibly-charming Clooney. Life doesn’t go that way. A guy who looks like Clooney and who was not a complete lunatic would have women lined up for even hourly appointments, and he’d be taking them. Guys who spend almost every moment of their lives in an airplane, car, or office seat are not incredibly fit (despite 2 seconds of film showing Clooney swimming in a hotel pool). They also do not have rich, deep Coppertone tans and shiny perfect white teeth. I felt like I was watching GEORGE CLOONEY the whole time, not “Ryan Bingham.” That’s a problem, because I am aware that Clooney is a movie star and not a corporate downsizing professional. Someone else should have been cast in the role, or Clooney should have made himself look and act a little more like this guy instead of Rico Suave On A Plane. He's an actor; that’s supposed to be his job. But then again, maybe his job is to pull people in to theaters just to gaze on his handsomeness.

The movie had some very funny lines, all of which felt natural. But there were so many more opportunities for humor, and for more heartfelt drama as well, that were never taken. It seemed to be played safe. I’m not talking about yanking the film up and down like a rollercoaster in some cartoonish way. Real life is just wider and deeper than what this movie allowed its characters to show. Instead, for emotional depth it relied on the reactions of the poor folks that were getting fired throughout the film – some of whom I think were not actors and were real people who had recently lost their jobs. But just showing a few seconds of people we don’t know getting angry or crying or threatening suicide or talking about their kids going without isn’t enough. The depth has to come from the main characters, and none of them – Clooney, Vera Farmiga as his road paramour, and Anna Kendrick as an uptight smart-young-thing – were well-written enough to be fully believable. The movie stopped short, and so did my investment in the characters and their lives in the film.

The climax of the film pivots around Bingman’s sister’s wedding, leading to this almost-50-year-old loner attempting to change his ways. It just doesn’t sit right. Bingham was estranged from his family for years, didn’t really seem to be troubled by that, and we don’t really see him getting all that much out of seeing them again other than enjoying breaking into his old high school with Farmiga and having some nostalgia moments. His supposed loneliness was never really felt earlier in the film at all, so when he starts making some clichéd gonna-go-after-that-girl moves, we wonder “where did that come from?” Half-century mark dudes don’t change their ways, other than to have brief flaming mid-life crises or switch to light beer.

Farmiga’s character falls apart at the same juncture. Playing Clooney’s female pro traveler twin, she seems content for the occasional hook-up on the road, until the movie leads you strongly to believe that she falls for the guy and would like something more permanent. When that turns out to be anything but the case, once again her reactions are just played so blandly that it doesn’t make sense, especially when she is caught in a lie and has much to lose. She’s not angry or dismissive enough to be the split-personality playa, and not sad or fearful enough to show any loss or caring. Also, in the crashing-the-corporate-party scene in the film, her pink blouse magically turns into a black sweater. Help me out a little here, Continuity People, come on. (And getting some of the airport details wrong was just plain lazy.)

It all comes back to the story for me. If you aren’t willing to go 100% with your characters, get right inside their heads, know them in and out so WE can know them, your story will break down. You don’t at all have to give me every last detail or make a 10-hour epic; you have to know the essential details, though, and make a consistent, believable character to be able to tell a great story, and then hire the right people to portray it. There’s no getting around it. Now, whether or not you want to tell a great story might be another thing, huh? “Up In The Air” was “good enough” to get good reviews, some great reviews. It will win awards and turn a nice profit.

So, let’s go back to my expectations. Was I entertained? Some of the time, yes. It wasn’t a bad movie; it was an OK movie, no more. Was I taken into the story? Not for long, no. Was the popcorn good and the water cheap? No and no. A lot of really interesting ideas were brought up in “Up In The Air” – how someone can be isolated in the midst of the swirl of humanity that is modern travel, the process and impact of job loss, if contentment and happiness are possible without a partner, how technology both unites and repels, and the culture of “prestige perks.” If this film had been a little more thoughtful and took a few more risks, it could have been memorable. Instead, it’s just another movie, soon to be replaced by another one, and another one.

I'm making my own popcorn, at home.


Mr11: Did you know that it’s against the law for buildings in Times Square not to have lights that fascinate you?

MissSeven: Konichiwa, Sensei!


Now, I absolutely LOATHE the unbearable hen-party nightmare that is "The View," but I dig General Larry Platt. Oh god, I so hope this sweet old guy via his silly fun song just makes it clear how bloated and bagged-out American Idol really is. No Celine-Dion-bellower or boy-band-reject is gonna ever be cooler than this cat.


Half of my MLK Jr. day was spent asleep, the outcome of going to bed very late, a very loud windstorm that kept me awake, and MissSeven, who came in several times to tell me that she didn't care for windstorms or airplanes flying overhead, and especially airplanes flying overhead in windstorms. I think I drifted off around 6AM. I awoke again around lunchtime to a sunny and pleasant day and cheery but hungry kids. After a shower, we hopped over to the OOGCP.

Because it was so nice outside and a holiday, the coffeehouse was packed with the regulars and the irregulars, including Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood! I smiled as I noticed their car parked halfway over the handicapped space line. I think they deserve to park right in the cobble-bricky courtyard if they wish. Mr. Hollywood, grey hair neatly combed back as usual, was rocking a navy-and-white Fila tracksuit and his cane, but I was disappointed to see that Mrs. Hollywood, usually dressed Vegas-hot, was wearing MOM JEANS and WHITE TENNIS SHOES! AW! I have never seen her in anything but skin-tight hot mama stuff and 4" heels. She was wearing her same fluffy silver-white wig, though. As she waited for her quiche to come up, she eyed me over. She did not smile, when I glanced up to look at her. I imagine she stared down many a woman in her day. Go Mrs. Hollywood.

Mr11, MissSeven, and I took our yummy items to sit outside in an attempt to soak up a little Vitamin D.

We talk about the upcoming family trips, the pretty golden retriever with a red bandanna nearby who is so well-behaved, and what they knew about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. I was surprised and pleased to hear how much they did know, although I had to roll my eyes at Mr11 when he asked if there were still slaves in America when I was young. Why you little. MissSeven piped up to comment that it was "so dumb" to be mean to someone because they have a different color skin. It sure is, I agreed.

There goes the Hollywoods, off to Hollywood-land, around the corner for all I know.

My present to you on this holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., is the 2008 film, "The Night James Brown Saved Boston." From Amazon (interesting piece on NPR with director David Leaf as well, worth a listen):
On April 4, 1968, the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis. On April 5, 1968, James Brown sang, and the city of Boston didn't burn down. The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the story of the pivotal role that James Brown, and that particular concert, played in the political, social and cultural history of the country, focusing on 1968, a defining year for America. Using actual performance footage and the personal recollections of James Brown's band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweek's David Gates, The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed two days before my 6th birthday. I remember the news reports, LBJ's address to the nation, the photo of everyone pointing on the balcony where he was assassinated. I remember the feeling of chaos and hopelessness and anger, and those who didn't mourn at all.

This film is worth your time, today or any other day. Enjoy.