Monday, October 31, 2011

Candy Says

The first salvo of winter was fired this weekend as the Northeast digs out from an impressive storm that has left millions without power. The numbers are incredible; 28 inches in Pittsfield, Mass, 18 inches in Bridgeton.Me, and 17 in Bristol, Conn. How rare is an October blizzard? Historically rare writes Dr Jeff Masters in wunderground. Here in Cabot Cove the damage was mostly psychological as goblins and robots slogged through slush on their way to Halloween parties. The collective shrug is part of the charm of Maine and another reason why we put up with the summer.

With an anemic economy and new ad revenue  hard to come by, a classical music radio station in New York has turned to noted huckster Beethoven for help. The innovative ad campaign features the tagline
"Obey Toven" and tote bags declaring "Beethoven Was Def". Of course there is a precedent for Ludwig modernization including this 1976 classic from Walter Murphy.

Witchcraft is alive and well in the Phillipines writes Benjamis Haas in the Los Angeles Times and ghosts are haunting a Maine courthouse according to Greg Latimer of The Lincoln County News. For those non believers and skeptics of the paranormal check out, an online clearinghouse of unexplainable photographs purported to be from the great beyond or possibly Ohio. Finally, before you step out of the house tonight, check out these bad Halloween costumes courtesy of retrocrush. Hmm....I never thought of going as Mr Kotter or Chachi but the "Leather Guy" from the Village People may have won a door prize in certain bars.

In sports the Giants survived a scare from the woeful Miami Dolphins to take a commanding lead in the NFC East as Philadelphia crushed the Dallas Cowboys. This sets up a fairly important game next week for the G Men who travel to Foxborough to play the soft New England Patriots writes Dan Shaughnessy who says coaches are like "MIT seniors fumbling around the Playboy Mansion" when facing Bill Belichick.
Optimism in the Bay area remains high after the 49ers' slugged their way to a 20-10 victory over Cleveland and the Cincinatti Bengals are making believers in the Queen City. I bemoaned parity in the NFL for years but the level playing does make for interesting copy. The Detroit Lions, a feel good story any way you cut it, have become a symbol for Detroits decades long stuggle for rebirth. Lastly for you Patriots fans I give you this and this ahead of Sundays game. Somewhere Elllis Hobbs is still looking over his shoulder.

Here is an occasional feature called Throw Another Blog On The Fire and today we have this from angry Clevelandites who are (no surprise) upset with the Obama administration ignoring the Constitution. What's up with these bloggers? Can't bother to find a  job? No-one will hire you? Who has time to read a thousand newspapers and glean sympathetic arguments to support your particular agenda? Oh wait, that hits a little close to home.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

40 Acres & A Pool

What to make of the St Louis Cardinals who have improbably won the World Series? Maybe Tony LaRussa is a genius but I still contend he's evil and complicit in the rise of steroid use in baseball. With the season officially over(though here in New England it ended a month ago) it's time to raid the goodship You Tube for the craziest clip of all time.

Saturday mornings are about cartoons and today I present a few favorites from the past. Has anyone noticed that the theme to this show sounds like the Byrds circa Fifth Dimension? I understand the limitations on special effects in 1980 but they could have atleast removed the hand guided string from the "boat". Imagination and sugared cereal, dem' were the days.

Could you drink 119 beers in 6 hours? Not many of us could which is why God gave us Andre the Giant who was a legendary drinker according to this article in Modern Drunkard magazine. Plucked from the mountains of France because of his freakish size, the Giant made and blew many fortunes before succumbing to heart disease at age 47. Due to his particular gland disorder he knew  life would be short but damn, this man could drink.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fait Accompli

The people of New England are by nature patient and forbearing, but there are some things which they will not stand. Every year they kill a lot of poets for writing about "Beautiful Spring." These are generally casual visitors, who bring their notions of spring from somewhere else, and cannot, of course, know how the natives feel about spring. And so the first thing they know the opportunity to inquire how they feel has permanently gone by. There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that compels the stranger's admiration -- and regret. The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go.
                                                                                                                            -Mark Twain

On that note we have this unwelcome guest making it's way through the I 95 corridor.

Despite a collective yawn from most baseball fans, the World Series has turned into a classic with a stunning Game 6 victory by the Cardinals who twice rallied from two run deficits to force a Game 7 tonight in St Louis. As any Red Sox fan can tell you a crushing Game 6 loss usually spells trouble but somehow the Rangers, without the  burden of history, should pull through. If the Rangers DO lose then Nelson Cruz will be forever Bucknered writes Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated.

The Royal and Exalted masters of the links have spoken and duffers will now have a few new rules to remember the next time they play 18. This is akin to altering the Constitution as it's only been 267 years since the Rules of Golf has made anything resembling a change. I propose a New Testament vs Old Testament interpretration where if the foursome ahead of you are all in their 80's then you have the right to move them off the course.

What the hell is going on in Sanford? Apparently a lot of group sex according to the Portland Press Herald who detail the end of a monthly swingers club in the town. Officials have used words like "appalled" and "disgusted" but I'm not sure if these descriptions relate to the town of Sanford itself or the occasional bacchanalias. Apparently for $40 anyone can gain entry and partake in the festivities which are fully catered(you certainly  work up an appetite) and have strict rules regarding engagement. This could be a boon for struggling Grange Halls and high school gymnasiums which sit empty most nights. My idea, roundly panned by my trusted group of confidantes, is to build a floating "strip" barge that would visit various ports in Maine on the weekends. Think about it: dockworkers and fishermen flush with cash on Friday night running to the piers as the barge plays "Girls, Girls, Girls" signaling the arrival of (shivering) ladies. It's like an  ice cream truck for lonely men.

For fans of the seedy underside of the "What Me Worry" 1970's check out this website on Wordpress. Vintage photographs of racing queen "Jungle Pam" Hardy, Miss Hurst Golden Shifter, customized vans, Hunter Thompson, Harley Shovelhead Choppers, the Farrah Fawcett pinup war and much more.(be sure to click on the photographs to the right)

Image:Woody Guthrie killing fascists(and a few pints) at McSorleys Saloon in 1943

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Internet Video Killed the Internet Radio Star

Are you convinced you have the next viral sensation somewhere on your camcorder? Maybe your dog can recite Baudelaire while playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 in B Flat Minor and the world needs to know. If so be prepared writes Clair Miller in the New York Times and don't spoil your 15 minutes of internet fame. As the article details, the payoff can be enormous if you follow a few easy steps. For instance this video of a drugged up kid  has made his  family over $100,000. The novacaine hangover being a small price to pay for atleast two years of college education.

Today is the birthday of the great British actor, writer, and Monty Python regular John Cleese. He  was born in 1939 to an acrobat mother and insurance salesman father in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Cleese is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University in New York where he provides tutorials on the human brain among other topics.

A few days ago the iPod amazingly turned 10 and it's birthday led the great rock critic Greg Kot to wonder if the advent of these devices has made music more disposable. In other iPod news the devices daddy, Steve Jobs, kept mid 1960's Dylan bootlegs, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones on his writes the Wall Street Journal
My jack of all trades uncle would stash his cd's (remember them?) in the bed of his truck using a plastic storage container. We're talking hundreds if not thousands of albums and it became forever  known as the iTodd, a mobile music lending library.

The long rumored Lou Reed and Metallica album Lulu drops on Tuesday and the Times has an interesting feature on the unlikely pairing.  The match made in hell has been dismissed by critics but generally embraced by music fans(myself included) as something passably interesting.

Hipcycle, a website offering recycled and repurposed goods, was recently launched by Andrew Sell and is aiming to become the "Amazon of upcycled products".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dead Trees & The Dirty Ground

While the rapid decline of newspapers continue to make headlines, some might be interested to know that reading a paper can actually make you sexier according to the NY Times (who have a rooting interest). The advertising campaign, spearheaded by our friends at the Newspaper Association of America, uses such taglines as "smart is the new sexy" and somewhat curiously "find Iran on a map." As Dan Rather said of then new CBS hire Katie Couric; "they're tarting up the news." Whats next? Soft core grocery circulars? For those interested in a running necrology of the business look no further than here.

Copycat Occupy Wall Street protests continue to spread throughout the country with blood on the streets of Oakland and homemade chemical bombs being tossed at sleeping demonstrators  in Portland, Maine. The original band of malcontents, who are intentionally leaderless according to their website, has a surprising number of sympathetic American citizens who support the cause(whatever it may be) based on the results of a new CBS poll.  For the budding Abbie Hoffman or Emma Goldman still in diapers a Facebook page has popped up where one can  Occupy Legoland. No word yet on similiar efforts with Lincoln Logs or Ez Bake Ovens.

Every  revolution needs a soundtrack and so far the Occupy Wall Street gang has been more mid tempo Gin Blossoms then up-against-the-wall Jefferson Airplane. Artists who have visited the site include Pete Seeger(appropriate), Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel(also appropriate), rap mogul Russel Simmons(curious but not unexpected), Sean Lennon(it's in the blood), and Katy Perry who must have confused Zuccoti Park with a shoe sale.

The kid bids adieu redux....Theo Epstein said goodbye with a frank editorial in the Boston Globe as Chicago welcomed yet another savior for the Cubs. Meanwhile, back at the ranch,  the Red Sox formally introduced  new general manager Ben Cherrington who sounds, acts, and thinks like Epstein which is like firing one Olsen twin for another. Cherrington, who has been with the organization for 13 years, dropped the bombshell during his press conference Tuesday that John Lackey needs Tommy John surgery . Is it possible for this to be elective? Would the Red Sox fake an injury just to hide Lackey who really should be in some sort of witness protection program in Swampscott?

Looking for work and don't mind extremely casual dress? If so, try North Dakota where dancing a few hours a night will earn you big bucks according to the New York Daily News.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If 6 Was 9(Pizza Pizza)

Granted it's not  up there with Gary Hart bouncing Donna Rice on his lap aboard the Monkey Business but  the video of Herman Cain crucifying John Lennon for the pleasure of the Omaha Press Association is still pretty shocking. Not so much for a lapse of morals, he's fullly clothed albeit in a creepy white robe, but for the assault on good taste. Cain, who made his fortune with a chain of Godfather Pizza franchises, recently said  the Occupy Wall Street protestors "have only themselves to blame" for not being rich. Just the kind of economic sensitivity we need in these boom times. Speaking of our brothers in arms, the revolution will apparently be televised. MTV(remember them) will begin filming a reality show based on the protestors starting November 5. If they could somehow bring back Puck and convince Herman Cain to participate this would be the best Real World in quite some time.

Good news for MLB as Sundays Game 4 telecast of the Rangers/Cardinals beat NBC's Sunday Night Football Colts/Saints blowout in preliminary overnight ratings. This represents a minor coup for baseball but it was competing against a 62-7 trouncing by the Saints, a  game that was essentially over early in the 2nd quarter. If you believe the hype, football passed baseball a long time ago to become Americas past time, a passing of the baton explained well by the great Frank Deford in a column for NPR. Many have posited that here in New England we are Red Sox fans but not necessarily fans of baseball. In fact my neighborhood local was showing a re-run of Extreme Makeover last week instead of the World Series until someone(me) asked them to change it. Is baseball becoming strictly regional like the NHL? For one, football is tailor made for gambling and doesn't require an appreciation of nuance(or energy drinks) that a 3 1/2 hour baseball game requires. Not that I think Dice K is a thing of nuanced beauty but shrinking attention spans have firmly placed the made for tv NFL in the wheel house of most Americans collective unconscious.

These pretzels are making me beer news we have a new report that craft breweries are gaining market share on the suds barons of Big Swill. Encouraging news for lovers of good beer but it's a big mountain to climb as Steve Brody aka the Pour Fool details. Closer to home(as in around the corner) Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle has opened and are rolling out a Belgian style sour beer, according to my former colleague Samuel Baldwin in a recent article for The Lincoln County News. Oxbow Brewing currently has their Octoberfest on tap at the Newcastle Publick House and will be filling growlers every Friday afternoon at their headquarters on Rte 215.

Someone had the good sense(or proper legal clout) to post Beck's entire 34 minute set at this years Bridge School Benefit Concert in Mountain View, California. For those who don't know, the Bridge School is an innovative learning facility for children with severe physical impairments founded by Neil Young and his wife Pegi. Young, whose son suffers from a severe disability, has championed the use of augmentative and alternative communications to reach children who cannot speak. A great school and charity but I still can't forgive TRANS, the worst album by Shakey who unfortunately championed the use of augmentative and alternative communication for rock and roll.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Todays Skinny

Tim Adams of the Guardian has a nice interview with Tom Waits  on the cusp of his new album Bad As Me. The hits keep on coming for the Red Sox as Joe Torre(the something or other czar for MLB) promises to "look into" this seasons clubhouse beer drinking debacle. Apparently Torre is "concerned" about players drinking during  games and considering banning alcohol in clubhouses. Somewhere Babe Ruth is spinning in his grave, presumably still drunk. The Onions A/V Club has a great piece on the enduring brilliance of the Rolling Stones Tattoo You. He argues that the album is the Stones "last gasp of their creative prime". The original cut and paste masterpiece, take that Girl Talk. Finally a bit of bad news for you seafood lovers:somethings fishy with the fish in Massachussets as the Globe wets a line into fraudelent restaurant dishes.  Finally a pretty smoking clip of Austins own Gary Clark Jr on Nashville Sunday Night. Nice to see a brother representing for once.