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October 12, 2005

the winnah is

The results are in on the Battle of the Bands I referred to yesterday.

The Michael Penn is a solid Michael Penn album.  All of his albums are solid Michael Penn albums, come to think.  "Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947" is a little more nostalgic, a little more sepia-toned.  I will describe it as "tightly-produced songcrafting," sometimes sweeping, sometimes maudlin.  It'll take a few more listens to get to the depths of it, actually, as it is quite dense.

Harvey Danger's "Little By Little" also did not disappoint me.  It is loud poppy guitars, with sometimes a piano or a french horn (!?!).  The non-download version also comes with a bonus disc, and I might like that more than the release version.  It includes my new favorite song: "Elvis, I Don't Love You Anymore".  No, not that Elvis.  The other Elvis.  "We all enjoyed/Your brutal youth/We'd like it back/To tell the truth."  That last bit of the lyric is a little bit of yelling, not screamo or anything, more like, "I'm really mad about Elvis Costello" yelling.

So, who is the winner?  Who is the loser of this Battle of the Bands?  Wit and the resulting envy that follows is your winner, thanks to these two smart albums, and the loser is, for a record fifth BoB, major record labels, as both albums are pretty much self-released.

Which is why it is important we vote with our wallets.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:59 PM

welcome mortimer shy

If there's any one thing that writing for the Internets has taught me, it's, "Spit it out."  Reading off of a TV screen does not inspire the careful consideration one puts forth when struggling through Joyce.  Rather, you read the whole post (or each paragraph, if some infidel gets wordy) in a single blink, and then's it's all, "Next scene!" with the clicky and additional blinks of content and then your lunch break's over.

I don't necessarily think this is a good thing.  It's a "thing".  It's certainly not going to get any better.  Though I am the kind of guy that thought that the touchtone phone might be flying a little too close to the sun -- a Promethean gamble that I wasn't quite ready for.  (Though also I like my PS2; contradict this!)

So please acquaint yourself with The Lectures of Mortimer Shy.  Yes, these are lectures, and they are well-crafted and impossible to read in blinks.

And should you find yourself in Monty's Krown, well, then, that would be something, wouldn't it?

Posted by mrbrent at 1:31 PM

October 11, 2005

battle of the bands 10.11.05

I'm having a little battle of the bands.  Don't tell the office manager -- she has a strict "no band-battling" policy.

Fresh off the Amazon presses I received the following: (i) Michael Penn's "Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947"; and (ii) Harvey Danger's "Little By Little".  So now I play them headphonically while I work here at the desk, one after the other, Niagara Falls, slowly I turned, step by step.

Yes, odd pairing.  You've heard of both, and I probably don't need to defend Michael Penn.  Harvey Danger is worlds better than that one novelty single you remember, "Flagpole Sitta".  Which actually wasn't that bad.  In fact, they offer their new album for download, a free taste from the pusherman.

No free download on "Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947", but you can stream it for no charge, just to wet your whistle.  Or is it "whet" your whistle?  Get me Safire on the horn now!

I will of course update on the winner of today's battle of the bands, at such time as the loser is chosen.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:32 PM

the president what?

The Yahoo! Regularly-Shaped Aggregated Headline Pen creeped me out this morning.  Though somehow I doubt it's the headline-writer's fault:
• Bush sees locals leading Gulf rebuilding

Naturally, the use of "to see" in the sense of "to envision" leads to all sorts of ha-ha, "Sixth Sense", maybe, or some rote about the president's continuing incompetency, but then I got curious and actually read the story under the headline.  Stupid curiosity!

President Bush pledged Tuesday that the federal government will not seek to dictate terms for rebuilding the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast but would allow state and local officials to make key decisions.   He rejoiced in what he said is a spirit of revival there.

I also think active verbs are fun, but, ew.  Now I'm going to have to go through my day trying to "see" what the president "rejoicing" would entail.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:50 AM

October 10, 2005

don't you dare kill obama!

I wish my friends and I were as skilled conversationalists as John Rogers and his friends.

If we were, I would transcribe our conversations and hilarity would ensue.  But no, actually they would read like this:

"Hey, you hear about the president's speech this morning?"

"Yeah."

"Right?"

"Yeah."

"Seriously."

"You ever see The Family Guy where Stewie gets drunk?"

"Nope."

The sound you hear is the sound of hilarity refusing to ensue.

But when Rogers and his pal conversate, then you get lasting goodness like The Crazification Factor (which is similar to an idea I've long held -- Institutional Incompetence) and a T-Shirt that says "Don't you dare kill Obama!"  Which is a cool and deftly subversive bit of T-Shirt.

Ahh, remember the days when were all deftly subversive?

Posted by mrbrent at 11:22 AM

October 9, 2005

reading makes you swim good

Here's a quote that struck me from a book I'm reading.  The book is "The People's History of the Supreme Court" by Peter Irons.  I'm reading it for, let's say, obvious reasons.

It's very good, though I'm only 25 pages into it, so take that as you may.

During the Constitutional Convention in 1987, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts let fly with these pithy little sentences, which have everything to do with These Modern Times:

The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.  The people do not want virtue, but are dupes of pretended patriots.

Keep in mind that he uses "want" in the much cooler sense of "lack" instead of the greedy, modern sense of "desire".

Plus also keep in mind that Gerry has the double dubious distinction of a) refusing to sign the Constitution, and b) coining the term "gerrymeandering" through legislative tomfoolery in MA, which cost him the governorship but did not prevent his rise to Vice President under Madison.

So remember, stupid puny Americans, it's not your virtue I hate, it's your dupability.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:07 PM