Friday, February 25, 2005

The Pope's New Hole

(no, not Courtney Love, in any definition of "hole")

Jesus, when will this fucker die? Have you seen pictures of him? He looks like Tippy the fucking Turtle. Can any catholic, active or recovering, actually tell me that this bag of bones is effective?

Gotta say though, I look forward to when he gets a colostomy, if only so I could write this headline:

Pope's Got a Brand New Bag

Wotta Week

Slow week from me, I know, but it's been fairly hectic at work, and rehearsals for Anna Karenina are at that point where it's hectic. All of which leaves no time for brain to make with writey stuff.

I'm trying not to go into another 6-week slumber.

so with that in mind, I'm going to post another clipping regarding Dr. Gonzo's demise, illustrating just how atypical the entire affair is, and why one shouldn't condemn the situation. Read on. (Source:, again)

After Gonzo was gone: Hunter S. Thompson's wife, Anita, has given an interview to the Rocky Mountain News detailing her husband's final hours and how his family coped with his suicide immediately after his death. She says they gathered to give him a fitting sendoff: "The literary champ was sitting in his command post kitchen chair, a piece of blank paper in his favorite typewriter, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot through the mouth hours earlier," the paper reports. "But a small circle of family and friends gathered around with stories, as he wished, with glasses full of his favored elixir -- Chivas Regal on ice. 'It was very loving. It was not a panic, or ugly, or freaky,' Thompson's wife, Anita Thompson, said Thursday night in her first spoken comments since the icon's death Sunday. 'It was just like Hunter wanted. He was in control here.'" (Rocky Mountain News)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

YAY! More Death!

The following is in reply to Rood1's comment on my previous post. Rood's comment is included, for a minimum of the mouse clicking and the hurting, frau laven.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the only movie I have ever walked out of, and believe me, I've seen some true dogs. That vile piece of shit was making me ill. And speaking of vile pieces of shit, killing yourself while your kid is in the next room? Total self-absorbed asshole to the end.

- Rood1


Well, I don't know what to tell you.

I would disagree about the movie, and the book. I don't think I have any room to judge him as a person.

However, there is a school of thought that supposes that anyone who would commit suicide is a self absorbed asshole, regardless of proximity to a relative.

Again, I shrug my shoulders.

In the documentary I mentioned in the post, he talks about committing suicide (this is back in the 70s), so that's at least 30-plus years he's been talking about doing this.

Does it make the act any better, particularly for his son? No, but it's not like this is an alien concept for the kid.

And let's talk about this kid, who has a wife and a child of his own.

'nuff said.

Besides, who are we talking about here? He sure ain't Mr. Fucking Rogers.

And while I'm not one to advocate suicide, I will admit that I am ambivalent about the act, in general. Do I think it's a waste of life? Yes. Do I think it's a cop out? Yes. But millions of practitioners might be on to something.

In fact, I think Kurt Cobain's suicide is exponentially more morally repellant than Hunter Thompson's. For one thing, Cobain's kid was younger, in need of more care, and, as a result of his actions, was left in the hands of someone who had no business being a parent.

For another thing, I would rather know what happened in the next room and when (regardless of how violent), than, say, walk into a room--who knows how much later, it does make a difference--and find a mess where I had left a human being.

That's just me, though.

Also, far be it from me to suggest that Mr. Cobain is a self-absorbed asshole. Dumbass chickenshit, sure. But an extremely talented dumbass chickenshit.

In my opinion, Dr. Thompson was a marvelously talented misanthrope with the audacity to live and, ultimately, die by his convictions. Dumbass chickenshit or not.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

RIP Dr. Gonzo

There will be numerous and better sources for a eulogy (like this one, for example), but for one of the best clear distilled views of the man, you could do worse than watching this:

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood

Watched this last night (it's on the supplementary disc of the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Criterion DVD Set, along with correspondence between the good Doctor and Johnny Depp as read by Depp), and there were several of those mind-numbing moments of clarity interspersed throughout the BBC produced documentary. Such as when Dr. Thompson voices his disdain of having to live up to the Duke image. The movie ends with him and Ralph Steadman going into some non-descript office to discuss the plans for a monument to be built upon the Dr.'s death.

Here's hoping they go through with the crazy man's plan.

[This post has been edited to include the following, which was cribbed from Salon's service. Seems his ideas for his funeral had diminished some since the BBC docu.--tbo]

Gonzo to the end: Hunter S. Thompson's last request? Thompson's friend Warren Hinckle has told the New York Post that, shortly before the writer walked into the kitchen of his Colorado home and fatally shot himself, he told his son, Juan, he wanted a "great funeral -- I want my ashes shot out of a cannon." Hinckle says Juan was visiting Thompson with his wife and young son at the time of his father's suicide, and that Thompson's wife was out at the gym. Hinckle says Juan told him that his father, moments before his death, was "talking about a funeral, great funeral. Typical Hunter ranting, nothing out of the ordinary about that. And then he walked into the next room ... and pow." (N.Y. Post)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Fucking Priceless

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

My man Joe Wack is kicking the shit out of funny.

Go there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

MixList Report Card

Theme: A+
Everything else: C-

From Connie Smith to Outkast to Husker Du?

Bold and very very messy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mad Mix: Beyond PleasureDome

Before we go any further, here are the song lists from my current batch of mixes.

All right. So, you’ve got all of that other stuff taken care of, now what?

Well, the fun part, of course: Putting the mix together.

My own process for this is simple. I sit down in front of my CD collection, and start pulling out albums that I feel 1) I haven’t overused or aren’t generally over-exposed, 2) still feel they offer something to listen to, and 3) fit into the grand scheme of my other requirements.

I usually end up with more options than I’ll end up using on the mix, but that’s okay. Quite often, songs that I’m fairly certain will end up on the final list just will not fit the flow, etc. so other options are necessary.

About the first item on this current agenda, it’s kind of a sticky situation.

I mean, as much as I’d love to place Soul Coughing’s Super Bon Bon on a mix, I just can’t do it. The same goes with the bulk of their catalog: Screenwriter’s Blues? Great damn song, but odds are the folks on my list have either heard it numerous times, own the album, or aren’t into it. And, while making people appreciate music they may not have given a chance before is a goal (in case they like it), and a hazard (in case they don’t), of creating mixes, there are some risks that are just not worth it.

Other artists that are currently verboten from my collection: Morphine, Radiohead, Tom Waits, White Stripes, U2, REM*, Magnetic Fields**, Beck, Beastie Boys, Cake, PJ Harvey, and a few others.

(*the exception this time around, as they are on the current set of mixes)
(**even though no two of their songs sound the same, there is such a thing as one’s over-reliance to an artist, as every artist on this list encourages)

You’ll note that most of these artists are male, this is simply because I don’t do too much experimenting with female vocalists. The ones I have, though, I’m fiercely loyal to. I take pride in the fact that not one second of PJ Harvey was used on these mixes, because I looooove her. Most of the other female artists I do use are very close to being placed on the verboten list, which is scary, so I need some suggestions to replace them. Bye, Bjork, I hope to use you again soon!

Here’s the thing: I was talking to a good friend of mine (check them out, Seattleites) about mixes in general, and he started stressing how glad he was that I had some familiar songs on the current batch. While he appreciated the new songs (himself a proponent of this aspect of any mix), the familiar songs served as welcome pockets of comfort that would allow him to venture further into the unfamiliar terrain.

So, like everything else I’ve been saying here, it’s a judgment call. Think about the song you’re going to put on there. Yes, Pink’s Get the Party Started is a fun song, but does anyone need steady access to it? Does anyone need to hear it ever again?

Another aspect of song selection I wanted to write about is one of content.

Be careful what you choose: This is especially true if the mix you’re making is for someone you’re crushing on and you don’t want to tip your hand.

Though, by the very act of making a mix, you’re pretty much letting them know, so, either be bold or be timid, but if you’re going with timid, be fucking careful (i.e.—stay away from Peaches).

Song lyrics are weighted things, and very open to interpretation. Take a look at the lyrics to a hidden track I once used:

I know sometimes the world is wrong
I know sometimes I do believe
I know sometimes the world is wrong
They’ll be wrong until you’re next to me

Romantic or creepy? You be the judge. Either way, you’re probably right.

Along about here is where I start thinking like my uncle, and try to come up with a story that could be told using the song selection to create a cycle. Let’s take a look at the “Side 2” list from the mix CD Him:

1) Mi VidaManu Chao
2) We’re Going to be FriendsWhite Stripes
3) Hot for TeacherVan Halen
4) Jenifa Taught Me De La Soul
5) Twist and CrawlEnglish Beat
6) Rump ShakerWrex ‘n’ Effex
7) One is the Magic Number Jill Scott
8) TemptationTom Waits
9) You Look Like RainMorphine
10) I Think I Need A New HeartMagnetic Fields
11) Say You WillMaktub

You’re basically looking at the development of a person, starting with innocence (the White Stripes), to first crush (Van Halen), to deflowering (De La), development of kinks (the Beat), to carefree womanizing (all I wanna do is zoomazoom zoom zoom in the boom boom). At this point, the female voice (the only one on this side) is introduced, and then you can tell where the rest of it goes…

Lastly, we come down to the areas of pace and flow. It’s in this aspect that making mix-CDs is better than making mix-tapes, simply because replacing music is that much easier.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind those who’re old enough to remember what erasing an error on cassette would mean. And, often, you’d just plow ahead on to the next song, and not check to see if one song would flow into the other until you were done with the mix. Frustrating as hell.

What I’m advising here is to take a listen to how an album goes from one song to the next, and to try to emulate that in as varied a way as possible. Personally, I tend to make mixes that ebb and flow, and would climax somewhere in the middle (this would happen twice on a cassette based format).

The general idea is to keep things flowing, going from fast to slow to medium, soul to rock to rap to emo, etc.

This is “Side 1” from the first WvM disc:

1) Women Vs. Men -- David Byrne
2) King of NY -- Dan the Automator/Kool Keith
3) Strobelite Honeys -- Black Sheep
4) Baby Doll -- N.E.R.D.
5) I'll Wait -- Dirtbombs
6) There Is No There -- The Books
7) Siboney -- Ruben Gonzales
8) Cannibal's Hymn -- Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
9) Maybe Your Baby -- Stevie Wonder
10) Electric Village -- Add N to X

Now, what we have here could be tighter in terms of flow, but it does the job admirably. First we have the declaration of the theme (thank you, Mr. Byrne), and then something of a meandering story. Not much of a climax for this side (it actually is delivered in the midst of the second side, on the Madlib track), but it does have something of a slow build. Though the Books’ track is kind of jarring, it stands on its own, and serves as an interesting bridge between the Dirtbombs and the Ruben Gonzales.

In short, it’s a good simmer to boil side.

Well, that’s about as much as I can muster on the topic of mixing. The only thing left to say is that, unlike cassettes—where wasted tape feels like a lost opportunity, CDs are so cheap, and cost effective, that you don’t have to worry about filling up the space. Just because you could place 80 minutes of music on a disc, doesn’t mean you should. The result is kind of diluted.

But then, I probably think too much about these things.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Thank You, Mr. Letterman, and Other Death Related Nonsense

For those who saw Late Show last night, what did I tell you?

For those who didn’t, you missed out on a great show.

And so, while Leno supplied the clip show and Ed McMahon, Letterman supplied a more in-depth look at Carson, trading in on what can only be described as intimate knowledge of the man he was eulogizing. His guests were Peter La Salle, and Doc Severinsen (who did a great job on the song he played).

The entire thing was one of the sweetest eulogies I’ve seen, even paying tribute to the old Tonight Show bumper slides.

I remember when Carson towed Letterman’s truck, which was priceless, and it was followed up a few months later with a mock People’s Court segment (with Judge Wapner) where Dave tried to sue Johnny for the scratch he bitches about in the clip. I also remember when Johnny sat down on the Late Show set in LA…It was pretty electrifying at the time.

And I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under, but I was unaware that Carson was sending gags to Letterman, and the New Yorker too. (Is this really common knowledge? Or is my roommate, A, pulling my leg?) Not to sound unreasonably bitter and vindictive, but was Carson writing for Leno? No? Hmmm.

Anyway, the show was everything I hoped it would be, and so thanks, Dave.

Checked out today’s Izzle Pfaff, which gives a slightly different take on my late friend Bronko.

I’m not sure that all 8 of my readers understand just how big an impact Bronk’s passing has on a sizeable subset of the Seattle theater crowd.

Skot’s entry reminded me of a few details:

- They had a sign that read “Hot Turky [sic] Sandwich”
- The Blue Steer: roast beef, cheese and blue cheese dressing
- The other monstrosity he mentions (beef patty, sausage patty, fried egg and cheese) was called the Joe Burger, which I once had the misfortune of eating (at Angie’s insistence. She swore it was my favorite, which I had never ordered before in my life.)
- Skot himself was a big fan of Angie’s turkey sandwich

Both Bronko and Angie keep returning to my thoughts, for obvious reasons…It’ll be good to see who shows up for the memorial.