Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Careful With That Fax, Eugene

Elvis Costello is urging his fans to not buy his new box set reports the Telegraph. The $250 price tag is better spent on Louis Armstrong said Costello who thought the price was an elaborate hoax.

Penguin is publishing a "lost" novel by Jack Kerouac that the beat icon wrote 70 years ago while sailing the open seas as a merchant marine. The critical response has been dismissive but the book does offer a fascinating glimpse into his  future genius. When asked of his thoughts on Kerouac, Truman Capote said "that's not writing, that's typing."

The search for a new manager for the Red Sox continues and Dan Shaugnessy wants to know what's the hold up. All signs point to Bobby Valentine which would set up an interesting dynamic between the considerable ego's running the Red Sox. Has a team ever lost it's credibility so quickly and in such spectacular fashion? This was a model franchise(and honestly it probably still is to some degree) but man, this is embarrasing.

The New York football Giants stink and Tom Coughlin has worn out his welcome according to a Giants fan in Newcastle. Yet another epic second half collapse coupled with apathetic play and a disregard for the fundamentals. Winning a Super Bowl grants you a grace period but this is getting tired.

So what's wrong with a little digital embellishing? Appparently lots as this article points out in a revealing piece on Photoshopping.

Ambled up the coast today to catch J Edgar at the lonely Cineplex. DiCaprio is excellent but the film itself uneven and loaded with a relevant but still under examined homosexual relationship between Hoover and his right hand man Clyde Tolson. Hoover, who supposedly was a cross-dresser, is given a sympathetic portrayal by the director Clint Eastwood. Overall the G Men just miss the g spot.

In the ain't life grand dept. of are you fucking kidding me we have this: 3 Conn. asset managers just won a 254 million dollar Powerball lotto. It's the 1 percent feel good story of the year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus

Is Black Friday a Pat Robertson thing? Well the battle lines of consumerism are in midseason form as some nut pepper sprayed 20 of her  fellow shoppers at a California Wal Mart this morning. Ingenious I say. However, the long lines for Black Friday were tempered by the stock markets worst Thanksgiving since 1932. So, cheap tv's, Hungarys credit rating cut to junk(my portfolio is front loaded with paprika futures, damn Hungarians), $2 waffle irons, Greece demands larger losses on debt from private investors, $100 iPods, Belgiums credit rating lowered.......Best Buy wins! The U.S consumer is not dead, just blurry.

The legendary multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson is still at it according to this article but in a bizarre fashion. Speaking of the Band...how many of them were indirectly killed by Bob Dylan's Dylan-ness? Richard Manuel hung himself after trying to reach Bob from his hotel room, Rick Danko never recovered from the marathon Big Pink booze sessions, and Robbie Robertson.....is not dead. So that's two PLUS Phil Ochs. Not bad but pales in comparison to Keith Richards whose list includes Brian Jones, Gram Parsons, and a few others I can't readily recall but I'm sure they're dead and he's responsible.

Sour beers are all the rage in the craft beer world and the New York Times ranks the best in this article. Maines own Allagash Confluence placed a respectable 5th in the poll.

Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan is forming a professional wrestling league in Chicago reports the Associated Press. Corgan is not the only indie rocker down with a yen for the turnbuckle as Husker-Du's former frontman Bob Mould is a consultant for World Championship Wrestling. Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan is reportedly making an album with Beach House and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has written a few breakup songs for Grizzly Bear.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Foghorn Shopworn

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, a great night to make a barstand and thumb your nose at whatever family gathering is about to commence. The Kennedy conspiracy theories just won't die and every year a new one is trotted out sometime around Thanksgiving to sell a few books and drive Oliver Stone batty. So whose got the brain of JFK and what's it mean to us now? The great documentary filmmaker Errol Morris introduces us to the Black Umbrella Man who, on a sunny day in Dallas, inexplicably had an open bumpershoot very close to where the fateful shots rang out. As this video explains, the umbrella had more to do with Neville Chamberlain than nefarious political motives. I still maintain it was Lady Bird Johnson from a Dealey Plaza hair salon.

Exciting news as thinking mans babe Julie Delpy has signed on to direct a Joe Strummer bio pic entitled The Right Profile. The film will take place in 1982 when Strummer went missing (really just a PR stunt from Clash manager Bernie Rhodes) and chronicle his life on the lam. In other gob tossing news, newly discovered graffitti from Johnny Rotten is being treated like the Tomb of Tutankhamun according to this article from Felicia Lee.

Ok, all the Nickeback fans out there please raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone? Anyone? Even though the band may well be the worst in recent memory  it seems they do have a sense of humor as this Av Club post confirms. Nickelback, who are slated to perform during halftime of tomorrows Lions-Packers game, are the subject of a petition to ban them from Detroit. Thumbs up Detroit.

Cult cartoonist R Crumb is releasing a book of album covers he's penned starting with the famous Big Brother and the Holding Company classic from 1968. Despite his creepy predilection for very large women, he's a serious champion of 1920's blues and an incredibly interesting dude. For those who haven't seen it check out the Crumb documentary, a family classic.

Came across a great add-on for Spotify this morning: www.equalify.me/, a free and seamlessly integrated equalizer for your listening pleasure. Installs in seconds and easy to use.





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Bloody Valentine?

Say it ain't so but apparently it's so as the Red Sox are about to hire whack job  Bobby Valentine to manage the team. This is the right move argues Dan Shaugnessy but his spotty track record of ego driven contrarianism is raising eyebrows around the league. Maybe this is what the team needs but it pushes the Red Sox further into sideshow territory and will be a distraction eventually.

An interesting read from the New York Times as John Leland examines a group of plugged in 20 somethings who are constantly using smartphones in social situations. It's a decent stab at Tom Wolfe style journalism but the subject matter, annoying 20 somethings, doesn't have the cache of  "limousine liberals" or even "radical chic" trustafarians. But, as Wolfe would say,  the "surest cure for vanity is lonliness" and someday the iPhone will stop ringing.(mine did but apparently Verizon expects to get paid)

Hey Guns and Roses are still around albeit with a single Gun(Axl) and a few plastic Roses. The band recently played the Izod Center in New Jersey and gave a so-so performance. Read the review here courtesy of NJ.com.

I think we've established New Orleans as cool but a new collaborative art project mixes sound and eccentric construction, resulting in what its creators call “a shantytown-sound laboratory writes Campbell Robertson.

From Florida(where else?) we have this report of a draq queen injecting Fix A Flat and cement into some poor womans ass. I know health care is costly but aren't there safer cosmetic surgery options? What can you do with a bicycle pump and PVC pipe?

Apparently young  financiers are having a rough go of it writes Kevin Roose. So are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

When I heard word that someone had started an Occupy Austin movement I had to wonder why. If you can put up with searing heat in the summer, it's by far the best place to live with an unbelievable music scene, progressive politics, excellent food, and a low cost of living. Apparently the citizens of Austin agree as a recently conducted survey has 88% of Austinites giving the city a thumbs up. Here in Maine we hover below the Mendoza line though those sober enough to respond gave it an appreciative middle finger.



Monday, November 21, 2011

Left Of The Dial

Where have you gone Paul Westerberg? While some have speculated he may be taking a cue from Syd Barrett, the legendary Replacements frontman is actually in Edina, Minnesota reveling in fatherhood. No word on a potential 'Mats reunion but he has been recording in his basement.

Looking for a few Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7’s but can't find them at Lowes? A former engineer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has opened an analog electronics parts store where you can finally finish that Tesla coil project. It's the kind of head scratching junk shop that inspires a fierce but low paying loyalty according to the article.

Cultural critic Greil Marcus, who has made a small fortune off Bob Dylan,  turns his pen toward the Doors in his new book. In other rock lit, Robert Greenfield has written a biography of swinging Turkish music mogul Ahmet Ertegun who signed Ray Charles, passed on the Beatles, and blew as much coke as Ronnie Wood. Janet Maslin reviews the book here.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice as the saying goes unless you're the Rolling Stones who will be celebrated for charity according to this post.

Celebrity chef and Ramones fan Anthony Bourdain has a new show called Layover. The concept is simple :he hangs out and eats while on a layover. Bourdain, who wrote the restaurant tell-all classic Kitchen Confidential, is seriously funny and not afraid to take the piss out of annoying "food personalities" such as Rachel Ray or Andrew Zimmerman.









Friday, November 18, 2011

Tom Waits For No One

Google has opened a digital music store as it aims to compete directly with Apples widely popular iTunes. While the price points are roughly the same(99 cents to $1.29 per song), it has scored a minor coup by offering an official copy of the Rolling Stones classic(and much bootlegged) 1973 concert from Brussels. As any Stones fan knows, the '73 tour was momentous and featured the great Mick Taylor at the top of his vibrato game at the tender age of 23. Important to know:the Brussels release is actually the evening show, not the well circulated afternoon show, so the material is very new to many people. At $4.99 it's a steal and will be followed by four other official "bootleg" releases this year. Good job Rolling Stones, now clear the hurdles and release the documentary Cocksucker Blues.

Are you a sad literary type and having no luck on those ubiquitous online dating sites? Looking for a colon to wrap around your dangling participle? Well you may be in luck as npluspersonals seeks to fill the dearth in online personals for charming intellectuals. Sample postings include "nihilist seeks not quite nothing."

For the truly wonkish or underemployed here is a complete video of rock critic Greg Kot moderating a discussion on the mechanics of music promotion and the state of the concert business.

Are Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Smashing Pumpkins now (gulp) considered classic rock? They, along with other 90's music heroes, have been popping up on classic-rock radio sandwiched between 'Skinnid(as they say here in Maine) and Journey. A startling and wrong development writes Jason Heller in the a/v club.

Paging the Coen brothers or David O Russell.....the New York Times has unearthed a wacky plot to aid the recently killed Quaddafi brokered by a former CIA agent, a Republican strategist, and a Kansas City lawyer. My long forgotten pamplet, How To Survive Bloody Coups & Influence People,was also completely ignored during the recent Arab Spring.

Detectives in Los Angeles are reexamining the 1981 Natalie Wood drowning after new evidence surfaced.(ok that was in poor taste) Speaking of waves, Surfin' by the Beach Boys turns 50 as  Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal takes a look back.

Finally, an autograph of 19th-century baseball legend King Kelly is expected to fetch big bucks writes Steve Henson in his excellent piece on baseballs first superstar.







Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sin Tax Era

 Congratulations to Dukes Mike Krzyzewski who stands alone as the winningest basketball coach in Division 1 history. As my friends know, I'm a huge Duke fan, have been for years, and won't apoligize despite the programs many comparisons to the New York Yankees. Coach K is a class act who fortunately took the best of Bobby Knight, his mentor, without bringing the hysterics. Nice guys do win, just not that often.

Looking for a perfect Christmas gift for that blues fan in your family? Look no further as Robert Johnson, the OG of the Delta, is getting the reissue treatment with 10-inch 45rpm replicas of his original Vocalion recordings. The generous box set coincides with his 100th birthday and includes a newly unearthed photo, elaborate liner notes, and is housed in a hard bound case that replicates an old 78rpm record folder. Check out the details and video here.

Speaking of the blues, former Blues Brother Dan Ackroyd has launched a line of vodka called Crystal Head. The bottle is a glass skull and the vodka is made from the "deep glacial waters of Newfoundland." This would be the perfect opportunity to launch John Belushis 48 Hour Energy which would just be shitloads of cocaine in a Ziplock baggie.

How do you negotiate a break up in this age of social media? Here's a template from Frank Lesser who writes in McSweeney's that a court ordered de-friending may be necessary.

Stellar reviews so far for The Descendants, a new Alexander Payne movie starring George Clooney which opens next week.(actually today in select theaters but Maine has no select theaters) Payne, who directed Election, About Schmidt and Sideways, has crafted a masterpiece according to A.O Scott of the New York Times.

In music news Heavy D is still dead, the bed that Michael Jacksons died in is no longer for sale, and the great Olivia Tremor Control has re-issued Dusk At Cubist Castle. The band was an original member of the Elephant 6 Collective from Athens, Georgia which consistently cranked out minor masterpieces during the then fledgling indie rock movement. Here's Green Typewriters X, a cool track that sounds like Meddle era Pink Floyd fronted by George Harrison.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

White Flight/White Heat

The possibility of a 2011-2012 NBA season is growing slimmer by the day writes Ian Thomsen in Sports Illustrated as charges of a plantation governance dog commisioner David Stern. Does anybody really care? Doesn't the NBA season start on Christmas anyway? Alas, the lockout does have a discernible effect on thousands of low paid arena workers who now sit and wait in abject poverty as this  blogger/Trail Blazers usher points out.

Alleged sicko Jerry Sanduskey issued an awkward denial of the pending sexual abuse charges last night on NBC's Rock Center. So let me get this straight: Sanduskey admits to showering with ten year olds but insists nothing happened? Why are you in the shower with a ten year old? What inexplicable and  benign series of events has to occur for a 54 year old man to be showering innocently with a ten year old boy? This shit is nuts, Sanduskeys nuts, Paterno is Cardinal Bernard Law with a clipboard, and Penn State should just go back to being a backwater agricultural school.

Speaking of Rock Center, it's actually quality viewing that strikes a decent balance between gumshoe 60 Minutes style reporting and breezier fare such as post Hugh Downs 20/20. Though certainly a vanity project for talking head honcho Brian Williams, it at least tries to present important stories that are flying under the 24/7 news radar. On that note click here to watch "Harvest of Shame", the great Edward R Murrow documentary on the plight of America's farm workers.

Remember those long lazy days at Bull Moose sifting through stacks of used cd's? Well bargain tunes are not dead just yet as a Boston based company is launching a platform to sell your used digital downloads.A noble idea but not sure if it'll replace the rush of finding a copy of the Kinks Muswell Hillbillies for two bucks or the Chuck Berry Complete Chess Recordings for a measly $12.

The internet has claimed its share of victims including video stores, travel agencies, record stores, newspapers, camera stores(somewhat complicit), shoe stores(Zappos), stag mags, atlases, textbooks, the Yellow Pages, and now it's fixing it's beady little cursor on publishing houses reports copylaw.org.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Dark Yet

Is there a silver bullet to staunch the bleeding for the beleagured newspaper industry? Start thinking"dimes on the dollars" writes David Carr in the New York Times. The current crisis was predicted 5 years ago by none other than billionaire Warren Buffet who said the end is neigh in this 2009 piece by journalismethics.ca.
In my opinion the industry cannibalized itself by not charging for content from the get go and a whole generation of readers are accustomed to free news. Early numbers for the controversial New York Times paywall were encouraging as it seems to correctly charge for cotent without the air of exclusivity according to Wired. I'm not sure if it's out on dvd  yet but the documentary Page One is a fascinating look inside the newspaper crisis.

Sad news as blues great Doyle Bramhall has died. Bramhall was best known for his work with Stevie Ray Vaughan and his one "hit"  Life By The Drop", famously covered by Vaughan, became a minor anthem for recovering types everywhere.

Smart groceries? Elevators to outer space? This isn't the work of science fiction but rather a top secret lab in Googles California headquarters writes Claire Cain Miller.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soylent Green

A dated but interesting article by Joel Selvin on the 20th anniversary of legendary concert promoter Bill Grahams death. It's hard to underestimate the importance of Graham who revolutionized the concert business but was a notorious crank who Lou Reed wanted to piss on according to a post by Josh Alan Freidman.Cult songwriter Mickey Newbury is finally getting his due writes Wayne Bledsoe for Knoxville.com.

Author Mona Simpson, who happens to be the sister of Steve Jobs, reveals details of Jobs last words as he seemed to notice something peculiar just before he slipped into the afterlife.

Ever wonder about the humble origins of the rubber ducky? Me neither but here it is courtesy of the New York Times.

Despite a new ballpark and a pledge to sign big money free agents. the Miami Marlins are still a sham writes Jeff Passan for Yahoo Sports.





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Let's Get Metaphysical

Did people drink more during the atomic age? Frank Kelly Rich examines the issue in a great post for Modern Drunkard. In other Cold War news Richard Nixon was bitter and cynical during a just-released transcript of his secret grand jury testimony in 1975. Wondering if your town houses nuclear ballistic missiles but don't have the time to dig? Check this out from Mother Jones. Finally one last bit of stop, drop and roll nostalgia, here is the 1964 Lyndon Johnson political ad that scared the shit out of the country. Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd or else! A simpler and sweeter apocalyptic time.

When Pigs Fly, an artisan bread company from Kittery, has opened a pizzeria and received a glowing review from the pizza fetishists at Slice. Maine is not known for its pizza but I have a friend who swears the state has the best convenience store 'za in the country. Mike, who is not a discerning foodie, conducts most of his research while drunk and buying cigarettes.

Is it time to create an internationally funded  Bloggers Without Borders? Maybe so as a few seƱores de los teclados have turned up decapitated and turtured in Mexico. For those who want to keep score on the ongoing lunacy which is modern day Mexico check out this drug cartel watchdog. If you dare.

Happy birthdays to Karl Marx(the composer, not the communist),trumpet player Buck Clayton, Grace Kelly, prince of darkness Charles Manson, Booker T Jones, Al Michaels, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bikini Kills Kathleen Hanna, and the one and only Neil Young.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pabel-Gone

So in less than a month the Red Sox have lost the best manager in their history, the best general manager in their history, and now their greatest closer, Jonathan Pabelbon,  has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. No big deal, right? Somewhere a closer by commitee is warming up. Brandon Lyon anyone?

Paterno fatigue but consider this :Roy Gricar, who declined to prosecute alleged pedaphile Jerry Sanduskey, has been missing since 2005 reports the New York Times. Despite leading the Big 10, "boola boola" to not canceling the remainder of Penn States games writes Dan Shaugnessy in the Boston Globe.

As a casual viewer of the Today show, I have often wondered why CBS and ABC ape the ratings leader right down to the jolly but dim weather personality. So, given my considerable clout in the world of network news, CBS has decided to hire Charlie Rose to anchor their dismal morning show. This is terrible news for fan's of Rose who is consistently brilliant but will undoubtedly have to dumb down his natural curiosity to satisfy the dreams of the everyday housewife. Ira Glass did turn down a correspondents role on the Price Is Right however.

The Rolling Stones will be rehearsing soon according to Rolling Stone magazine despite Mick Jagger still being peeved at Keef for claiming he had a "tiny todger". In other music news, Black Sabbath will record a new  album with the overrated Rick Rubin while Chuck Klosterman hangs out with Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and insists Gallagher is the funniest dude you'll ever meet.

Need a babysitter? Consider this modern day Mary Poppins the next time you have a date night.

Here is a plug for iorr.org, a great music chat forum from England with big time industry peeps posing as anonymous posters.

Finally a classic clip from the Found Footage Festival concerning unitentionally hilarious workplace sexual harassment videos from the 1990's.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me

Nothing meant by the title, just love Roger Miller and appreciate his sly suburban wit. So, anyway, the world keeps moving but a sure sign of the apocalypse as a Justin Beiber Christmas album is  number one. I've long since ceded the top 40 to the tweenyboppers but I'm hoping there is one more culture bearing rock song to unite the fractured music world. Where is our Purple Rain or Waiting On A Friend? Under The Bridge? Unskinny Bop? Proud Mary?

Joe Paterno will retire in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal by one of his former coaches. He's been unofficially retired for years and just seems to stand around looking parochial and bored while getting run over by players . You thought the Red Sox had it bad, Penn State is in shambles. What's that old joke? One of my brothers went to Penn State and the other went to the state pen.

Good news for people with no money who live in the middle of nowhere as the FCC announced plans to provide internet access to the 100 million Americans without it. I can't imagine these peoples lives with all their human interaction, book reading, excercising, and porn viewing from print magazines. They probably don't even know who the Kardashians are or have never witnessed such cultural milestones as a keyboard playing cat. Rubes!

A bit of relief on the horizon as Obama announced  a new "Pay As You Earn" plan for student loans. Since so many people aren't earning anything these days this seems reasonable. I think too many people go to college and should consider other options. Like this for instance.

In another installment of my own personal You Tube Hall of Fame, check out this clip of the most awkward Wheel of Fortune moment of all time.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Down Goes Frazier

Joe Frazier is dead at the age of 67. The former heavyweight champion, who fought in the considerable shadow of Muhammad Ali, was a better fighter and man writes Dave Anderson.

It was only a matter of time but local hops are making a comeback according to the New York Times. While the hops will be used in domestic craft beers, it's essentially part of a larger agritourism effort in upstate New York where the economy  tanked long before the global credit cisis of 2008. Not sure how hops smell or taste? Here is an excerpt from Daniel Fromson's article;
Samuel Adams Boston Lager The best-known American craft beer made with “noble hops,” central European varieties with floral, spicy aromas and minimal bitterness.
Bass Pale Ale A good example of the muted earthy, woody flavors and aromas associated with English hops.
Pilsner Urquell The spiciness of the Saaz hop, a noble Czech variety, complements the crisp, clean taste of this archetypal pilsner.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale The beer that popularized Cascade hops, whose piney, citrusy profile, which is typical of many American hop varieties, has made it a mainstay of domestic pale ales.

There's culture in them there hills.....a Wal-Mart heiress has opened a world class art museum in the middle of nowhere(Arkansas) reports NPR.  If it's anything like the store there will be one docent per 8,000 square feet, a huge line in the gift shop because someone is buying a tiny keychain which needs a price check, and a barely ambulatory greeter who just gets in the way. No word on a K-Mart Museum of Natural History but a Rite Aid Emporium of the Curious & Sundry sounds intriguing.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

The New York Giants stunned the New England Patriots once again with an improbable 24-20 victory yesterday in Foxborough as Eli Manning proved he's atleast in the conversation for elite NFL quarterbacks.
Tom Brady look confused by the Giants defense and spent a majority of the game on his back. Oh and the last person to wear #85 for the Giants before Jake Ballard(who caught a crucial pass to set up his own eventual game winning touchdown) was none other than David Tyree. Overall the game was all too familiar writes Dan Shaughnessy in todays Boston Globe. As one disgruntled fan pointed out yesterday at my local, Belichick needs to go. Harsh words for the Hoodie but lately New England seems like the football equivalent of the 1990's Atlanta Braves. All good things come to an end and I'm afraid this dynasty is on life support.

Don't Bogart that marijuana clinic writes Ethan Nadelmann in an op-ed piece for the New York Times as the Chicago Sun Times examines the suburban pot smoker. Closer to home, Maine medicinal marijuana providers held a trade show over the weekend in Augusta where properly documented patients were allowed to smoke pot in a special tent. Huddling inside a tent to smoke marijuana outside the Civic Center? Sounds like Augusta to me.

Ahead of a planned J Edgar Hoover film, we have this from LA Times where Richard Serrano writes Hoover lived in mortal fear of being outed as a homosexual. On that note we have the story of Roy and Silo, two gay chinstrap penguins, in this classic piece from National Geographic from 2004.

Good news for fans of hyper-literate rock as the Kinks Ray Davies is on tour and recently shared a few thoughts with Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Speaking of hyper-literate rockers, here is an audio clip of Ryan Adams complaining to rock critic Jim Derogatis after a hilariously negative review. Classic stuff.

The sex scandal involving Penn State's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sanduskey is sick and horrible. To top it off he wrote a book a few years back that raises a few eyebrows given the events of the past few days.





Friday, November 4, 2011



Sad news from the world of satirical heavy metal as Flattus Maximus has given up the ghost(and the horns). The bass player from GWAR was apparently found dead by his fellow Lords & Masters this morning somewhere near the Canadian border. In honor of his death check out this hilarious short documentary of GWAR terrorizing greater Austin during SXSW.

This just in, Massachusetts is still corrupt and finding new ways to make Lousiana look like a paragon of ethical government practice. It's amazing how seedy the state is in the supposedly enlightened Northeast corridor. Not to mention Boston mayor Thomas Menino who is perhaps the biggest elected doofus in municipal government and an embarrassment to his citizens. How does this guy keep winning re-election ? I understand a mayor, Bloomberg aside, is largely a ceremonial position but a semi-intelligent/coherent person should be a must for Boston.

A new study on poverty suggests 1 in 15 Americans are officially poor reports the New York Daily News
but the criteria may be skewed counters the New York Times. Apparently the measure of poverty is antiquated and does not factor in variables such as food stamps, tax credits, and other voucher programs. The net result  actually raises most poverty stricken families income to a whopping $18,000. Or 1,800 cheese pizzas from Godafathers as Herman Cain would point out.

What's up with ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews and her ability to turn men into self pleasuring Neanderthals? First a whack job cuts a peephole into her hotel room and films Andrews getting dressed and now we have reports that an ESPN executive was fondling himself on an airplane while sitting next to her. What's next? Joe Paterno stuffing her into a Borat marriage bag during a halftime interview ? Somehow I don't think fellow ESPN personalities  John Clayton or Sal Palantonio have these types of problems.

The mystery of the Lincoln County Courthouse ghost continues with this WCSH report that clearly shows an image moving through the halls after hours. The guy featured at the end is none other than my former colleague Greg Latimer who apparently moonlights as a certified ghost hunter. Who knew?

The city of St Louis is experiencing a rise in craft breweries in the shadow of Anheiser Busch writes Joe Stange. In other beer business a new blog devoted to Maine craft beer is rumored to be under construction. According to the editor, the blog will focus not only on Maine microbrews but also interesting bars in the state. "Part Frugal Traveler, part Zagat with  a serious analysis of the trends, people and places that make Maine an attractive place to drink ," said the man who didn't want to be identified. Can't wait.

Image:  Big Al's Kitchen For The Needy. A Chicago relief spot operated by gangster Al Capone in the 1930's.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

I've Just Seen A Face

A disturbing find in Canada as doctors have discovered what really exists in the nether regions of men. Looks a little like Buzz Lightyear or a young Ed Asner, no wonder it hurts to piss in the morning.

Feeling a little lonely and missing the warm touch of another human being to replace your On Corr tv dinner companionship? Well, theres an app for that writes Jenna Wortham in the New York Times. On paper this beats match.com or E Harmony for it's immediacy but could be a boon for kidnappers or sexual predators.

While the protests in New York have been fairly civilized, the California chapter of Occupy(fill in city of choice) is kicking out the proverbial jams with some good old fashioned violence. Tear gas and looting? Are these Vancouver hockey fans? I'm surprised an enterprising rabble rouser hasn't piggybacked the movement to give the protest a distinct voice. It's wide open but has been more Burning Man than fall of the Berlin Wall so far.

Most agree U2's Achtung Baby was the last great album by the megastar band but is it time for the group to call it a day? Maybe so argues Neil McCormick in The Telegraph. A new documentary puts a new spin on Dad Rock, the domain of Wilco despite Jeff Tweedys assertions, and reveals the softer side of men "who never thought they'd live long enough to have children" writes Jeanette Catsoulis.




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where Is My Mine?

Remember those trapped Chilean miners who captivated the world a few months ago? Bet you thought they could parlay that little experience into big bucks via a book, feature film, or on the motivational speech circuit. Not so according the New York Times who report most are suffering to adjust to the world above ground. Here in the U.S, government scientists are treating some Gulf War veterans who suffer from post traumatic shock syndrome by actually putting them back into simulated battle scenarios. Might this experiment also work with the miners? Couldn't they just be lowered back into the ground until they come to terms with what happened? Would some smart alec researcher scream "put the lotion in the basket Precious" as these admittedly brave men reflect on their harrowing plight?

Bacon carrot biscuits? Excuse while I kiss this guy? Wrapped up like a douche in the Corona of your mind? Or my personal favorite, "oh Canada, we stand on cars and freeze." For other misheard song lyrics check out this amusing web site .

All 28 secret combinations of Californias much revered In-N-Out Burger are revealed by the food as porn website A Hamburger Today. The site is dedicated to great cheeseburgers of America and is actually quality reading. It's sister site, Slice, gets a little salacious and judges a pizza on whether or not it gives "good tip." Yikers. In other food news, Mark Bittman writes organic food need not be elitist and butcher shops are making a come back according to Florence Fabricant.

Brian Wilson (who at one point would write you a song for a hamburger) has just released the Complete Smile Sessions. The exhaustive, multi-disc package sheds light on an incredible period of genius for the Beach(ed) Boy who may have written the last great American pop masterpiece argues Mark Richardson in Pitchfork. If you have seven hours to kill the album can be streamed in its entirety by going here.

More bad news for Big Swill as consumption is down and the industry looks to to rebuild "brand" beer writes EJ Schultz in Advertising Age.  Here in Maine the craft beer business is booming as Maine Beer Week begins on November 10. No word yet on Maine Coffee Brandy Week though presumably it started years ago and morphed into a year long celebration. Finally, here is a classic ad for Schaefer beer featuring a Moog synthesizer and a creepy looking guy who shouldn't be drinking so close to a $20,000 instrument.

One more bit of flotsam concerning  Julian Edelman, slot receiver for  of the New England Patriots, who takes being a member of the hands team very, very seriously.





Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Hat & No Cattle

Sad news from Lake Woebegone as legendary sound effects man Tom Keith has passed away. For fans of Prarie Home Companion he was the boing, the cluck, and fingernails on a chalkboard every sound for the past 25 years.

Are you one of the millions who have cut the cable tv cord in recent years? Think the suits at Time Warner and Comcast were shaking in their wingtips worried we lemmings might start exercising or paying attention to the kids? Not so writes Brian Stelter who reports cable is holding it's own against the book reading, Hulu watching infidels. Now, it's entirely possible to manage without cable(nothings really on, right?) but for a sports fan it can be pure torture to stare at a simulated game online, wait for page updates every 30 seconds and watch a crude animated ball inch around a "field". Thankfully our friends in Europe can create sites like this; free cable television via your Time Warner or Comcast internet service. (this site will periodically disappear and display a series of fake messages. Don't be fooled and your patience will be rewarded)

Watching the debut of Brian Williams new show Rock Center I expected to see a disaster but it actually held it's own. It's no 60 Minutes or seminal moment in news programming but it's modest goals were carried out as advertised. CBS reject Harry Smith, late of the Early Show, had a great piece on the boom times of North Dakota where taco huts are paying 15 bucks an hour, truck drivers are making $80,000 a year, and there are 50,000 jobs waiting to be filled. I'm not sure why there isn't a stampede to North Dakota; the money is real,  oil is abundant, and our country has not seen anything like this in 100 years.
Seriously, any person with debt and a smidge of desire should be loading his shit and heading west. Right now!

My Craigslist mojo failed me as I was not able to snag a ticket to the Pixies show tonight at the State Theater, I usually count on someone dumping a ticket, typically below face value, on the day of a show but this was not to be. The glut of concerts in Maine this fall is amazing and speaks volumes about the music industry, Everyone has to tour as sales of physical product(ie compact discs) plummet and the only money is in merchandise or ticket sales. Growing up, I had to make do with Monsters of Rock in Old Orchard Beach or the occasional flyover from Bob Dylan. This week alone you have the Pixies, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and to a lesser extent Further.(A Deadheads worst nightmare: all Bobby songs)


If you haven't already, please listen to soundopinions, the only rock & roll talk show on the air. Sort of Siskel and Ebert for the Lester Bangs set.