Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Clem Snide - There is Nothing

Yep. That's how I feel right now.

Israelisms -- Podcast # 17

OK. So I was a lazy iPod person. I knew about Podcasts but didn't want to be bothered. So when the new version of iTunes came out yesterday, I went a bit crazy. Now I have subscriptions to

  • KCRW's Elvis Mitchell show The Treatment
  • The Dawn and Drew Show
  • Israelisms
  • KPCCs Larry Mantle show AirTalk
  • KPCCs Kitty Felde show Talk of the City
  • Inside Mac
  • And a rabbi's weekly parsha (I can't find his name right now)

so I think this Podcasting thing is now probably going to be huge and therefore, probably viewed as ruined by all the people who loved it before I got there. Like the Internet was before I started being on it in 1994.

OH! The Arcade Fire/David Byrne show on Sunday lived up to my expectations and then surpassed them. First off, I had never seen a show at the Hollywood Bowl. That was fun. You can bring picnics including wine with you. So everyone is in their seats trying to eat and drink with people squishing by to get to the bathrooms. Very fun. And then someone was always accidentally kicking over someone else's wine bottle... but the show was great. The Arcade Fire is so good in concert. This time last year they were playing in tiny clubs and today they are in huge rock festivals and they are as good and intense and fun. It was a great, great show. I'd go on about it some more but it's kind of hard to describe it intelligently. It was a very emotional thing. My G/F and I had a wonderful time. I had played her the Arcade Fire album previously and she read the lyrics as she listened, and that really made her like them as well.

Oh. David Byrne was joined midway through his set by the Extra Action Marching Band. HAH! A San Francisco marching band with cheerleaders wearing silver thongs and meshy tops (except the guy cheerleader who just had on the silvery g string and silver) and black pom poms and tall flag women with bondage attire and members dressed up in every sort of get up you can imagine, and they played really well and actually made David Byrne's songs even better. To close, David and the marching band did Beyonce's Crazy in Love. Whaaa??? It was obviously the Extra Action's idea, and David read the lyrics as he did it, but it worked well. It was so much fun. has a link to footage of that last bit. While the show for me was all about witnessing The Arcade Fire at what I sincerely pray is a long and vibrant career, it also made me like David Byrne a lot more than I had before. A great night.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

David Byrne - Pirates

Well, the supposedly evil members of the Supreme Court, Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, and O'Connor, are the right ones today. The Kelo V New London ruling does exactly what O'Connor says it does-- "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process." We are used perhaps more to disputes involving private property owners rights to do things on their land that negatively affect others -- for instance, building a factory or business on one's property in violation of zoning laws, or developing one's property in ways that damage an ecosystem relied on by an endangered species. But this case is about a development corporation being able to convince a city that they'll be better off if they seize private property -- in this case, residential homes in the family for generations -- and give the property to another private entity who will, if their development lives up to the plan, produce more income for the city. And the Court held that only the city's opinion counts here. The Courts have no say in the matter. So there is no-one for the private homeowner to appeal to. The only consideration is whether the city wants to allow Party A to build where Party B currently lives. Can you say "EVIL?"

Currently in LA, there are areas where the little bungalows of the 30s and 40s are being replaced by McMansions that take up almost the whole property. Now, the little bungalows are often owned by people who have owned them for so long that they pay little taxes, due to the way Prop 13 works. It would be in LAs interests, purely economically, to pay the homeowners fair market value for their homes and allow a big developer to knock them down and build new megamansions in their place, because of the huge increase in taxes. And more tax revenue means an easier time helping the public. And what if they built fewer houses on the same land? That means reduced congestion. I could keep going on for ever. The "benefits" of such a land grab would be legion. And EVIL.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Coldplay - A Whisper

I sent another letter to the President today. If I took photos of refineries I would end up with the Secret Service at my doorstep. So far, I don't think they're cracking down on vigorous dissent yet...

McClellan has a thankless job. It must be getting so hard to put a positive spin on all the nasty stuff coming up about you. And it's coming too fast for him to properly duck. Today he tried to make us believe that Senator Durbin is critizing soldiers. But he is not. Durbin said you and your administration should apologize “for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure." Durbin is not attacking the enlisted grunts who do what they are told. He is criticizing YOU, Mr. President, and YOUR administration. YOU are the one responsible. You are the Commander in Chief. It is YOUR failures we see in Iraq, not the failure of the soldiers who follow your bad orders.

Undoubtedly, things would be much worse in Guantanamo were it not for our soldiers being so humane. That’s the only saving grace we have in Iraq and Guantanamo. The soldiers are so good and diligent and professional that they partially compensate for your arrogance and ineptitude and your wrongheaded orders. Thank God we have great American kids serving their country so that the world sees great Americans sometimes, and not just you and your administration.

Lee R. Tracy

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition

"I don't really care about EMI," he told Reuters at a recent appearance in Manhattan. "I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world."
--- Idiot and talentless Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, discussing his band's boring new album debuting at #1 and how it boosts EMIs profits and stocks.

Of course, the great evil of this modern world isn't shareholders. It's boring music. Your boss listens to it. Your eight year old listens to it. Your gerbil listens to it. Your mother even listens to it. For about a month. Then everyone gets tired of it. After a year or so, everyone going through their CDs realizes that they haven't listened to X+Y in ages, and no, they don't want to listen to it again now. So dozens of copies end up for sale on the internet. Cheap. But all the copies of X+Y that everyone suddenly wants to unload in July of 2006 aren't going to sell, are they? So what happens to all the CDs? Coldplay's latest CD is definitely going to result in a significant increase in landfill problems, and the stupid father of Apple (No, not the Steves, silly) is to blame. Bastard.

On the good side of things, only a week-and-a-half till The Arcade Fire/David Byrne show at The Hollywood Bowl!!! God is good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Beatles -- Got to Get You into My Life

McCartney says this song is about his newfound love for marijuana back in 196-whatever. It's still a good song.

Which reminds me of Coldplay. It's not their fault. Well, actually, it is. Chris Martin combines macho cockiness with overdone faux vulnerability. He is so proud of his vulnerability. And in interviews, he always tries to put himself in with bands like U2. And the LA Times critic recently did too, which is so obscene. Coldplay has released three albums in 7 years, right? ANd they all sound like The Bends. U2 released Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, and The Joshua Tree. And the band develops over time, producing lots of awesome songs that you can tell from one another. True, u2 now tends to release albums that are more interchangeable -- HTDAAB is pretty much just ATYCLB rehashed -- but the first seven years -- the first eleven years, really, through Achtung Baby, were exciting releases moving to new ground each time.

What really makes me angry is not Coldplay's music. I don't mind it at all. To me, they are really MOR music. Nothing wrong with that. When I want something innocuous on that I can work with, I put on Coldplay, A Girl Called Eddy, Sinatra, Sarah McLaughlin, Nat King Cole, Bic Runga... nothing wrong with the music at all. Sometimes the lyrics are a lot better than Coldplays, actually, but the point is they are melodic pleasant music that isn't going to distract when you want to work. Easy Listening. KOST FM. That sort of thing. It's when journalists and Coldplay try to make themselves out to be more than pretty music to use in TV commercials and the like that I get angry.

It's like The Killers and how they try to be so big and Important. The singer was in a big bs article in the LA Times saying how when they heard The Strokes Room on Fire they tossed half their songs and redid them. When I listened to Hot Fuss I was confused. These are the songs they kept? How sucky the rejects must have been! Amazing.

Which makes me love bands like The Arcade Fire even more. They are so earnest and unassuming in their interviews. They are in a band to make music and share it, not to be the Biggest Band in The World. And that's perhaps the secret to making good music. Someone has to actually care about music in the end.

I never saw 24 Hour Party People but I heard someone in it talks about how the music industry is filled with music lovers. They are college grads who could have gone into any industry and they went into the music business because they love music. They are the people would were not good enough or lucky enough to be good musicians or singers but live and breathe it like the kids in High Fidelity. Most bands, on the other hand, the people who are making the music, they want to get rich and be stars and have groupies and use music as a vehicle for stardom. So the bands that are supposed to be the starving artists are the greedy materialistic ones, and the supposedly selfish and conniving agents and producers at the music company are the ones really caring about the music. At least with groups like The Killers and Coldplay, I'm sure it's true.

Friday, June 03, 2005

King Crimson -- Frame by Frame

This is the letter I sent to President Bush yesterday.

"I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me." Matthew 25:45

"A society should not be judged on how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals..." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When it was about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Amnesty International was a trusted objective organization whose reports were cited by you and your administration in documenting war crimes. Now their reports are "absurd." Your administration has spent the past few days trying to trash Amnesty rather than deal honestly with the concerns raised by the organization.

In Matthew 25, 33-46, Jesus explains that whatever we do to the least among us we do to him or for him. "Away with you, you cursed ones," he says to those who did not visit the sick or those imprisoned, who did not feed the hungry or clothe the naked. Whatever we do to the least among us, we do to him.

Perhaps you are confused by Jesus' teaching. He is not saying that whatever you do to the least AMERICAN you do to him. He means everyone. Including those in Guantanamo and your other prisons that have been locked up for years with no way to appeal their detention.

You believe that America has a special role in history, right? Shouldn’t this special role entail a particularly fair and honest and compassionate treatment of the least among us? Shouldn't those accused of crimes by the greatest country in history be treated better by us than they would be other countries? Shouldn't we strive for the highest standards possible and be open about these standards rather than lie at every opportunity, or attack Amnesty International for telling the truth?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Julie Doiron - Gone Gone

Ron Howard has only made two good movies. Parenthood, and The Missing.

Since we are subjected to another Ron Howard/Russell Crowe monstrosity soon, just wanted to say that. I think Ron Howard is nice. I think his movies are generally Carpracorn without the redeeming social sensitivity. Just plain saccharine. Don't get me wrong -- I'm a movie slut, and I'll probably end up seeing the Cinderella whatever but America is a messed up country and one way we can tell is by how many mediocre Ron Howard movies are so adored.