Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa Rampage

On Saturday night, Cathy and I joined in what I expect will become a new tradition for us: The Santa Rampage.

A whole mess of people get dressed up in Santa-inspired costumes and do an organized bar crawl, getting free cover and drink specials all over town.

The getups ranged from sexy to creepy to silly and back to sexy again.

Funny how a costume strips away inhibition.

Big fun.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Ten Albums of 2007

This is always hard, but this year's crop has proven especially difficult to cull. But, at long last, I've made the tough decisions and whittled the 20 down to 10. So, here they are, plus lots of extra categories so that I didn't have to completely leave these things off.

Please send me yours as well. Happy 2007.

Top Ten Albums of 2007

1. The National ~ Boxer
2. Radiohead ~ In Rainbows
3. LCD Soundsystem ~ Sound of Silver
4. The Octopus Project ~ Hello Avalanche
5. Blonde Redhead ~ 23
6. Matthew Dear ~ Asa Breed
7. The Twilight Sad ~ Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters
8. Spoon ~ Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
9. MIA ~ Kala
10. Les Savy Fav ~ Let’s Stay Friends

Indie Greats That Should Have Made It But Didn’t
Arcade Fire ~ Neon Bible
The Ponys ~ Turn the Lights Out
The Shins ~ Wincing the Night Away
Band of Horses ~ Cease to Begin
Menomena ~ Friend and Foe
Earlimart ~ Mentor Tormentor
Dinosaur Jr. ~ Beyond
Okkervil River ~ The Stage Names*

Other Great Stuff That Would Have Made a Top 20 List
Manu Chao ~ La Radiolina
The Gourds ~ Noble Creatures
Feist ~ The Reminder

Experimental / Electronic Music and Other Slightly Odd Stuff That I Love
Burial ~ Untrue
Fridge ~ The Sun
Subtle ~ Yell & Ice
Deerhoof ~ Friend Opportunity
Artanker Convoy ~ Cozy Endings
Trans Am ~ Sex Change

Records From Fave Bands That Were Really Good But Not Great
Cloud Cult ~ The Meaning of 8
Iron & Wine ~ The Shepherd’s Dog
We Are Wolves ~ Total Magique
Art Brut ~ It’s a Bit Complicated
Caribou ~ Andorra
Wilco ~ Sky Blue Sky
The Sea and Cake ~ Everybody
New Pornographers ~ Challengers
!!! ~ Myth Takes

New Stuff That Turned My Head
Yeasayer ~ All Hour Cymbals
Kevin Drew ~ Spirit If…
St. Vincent ~ Marry Me
Shout Out Louds ~ Our Ill Wills

Big New To Me Discoveries
Apparat ~ Walls
Blitzen Trapper ~ Wild Mountain Nation
Manu Chao ~ La Radiolina

Soundtracks That Stood Out
Into the Wild

Albums That I Looked Forward To But Didn’t Much Care For
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ~ Some Loud Thunder
Bloc Party ~ A Weekend In the City

Huge Phenomena About Which I Remain Ignorant
Amy Winehouse

*(UPDATE: After being called on it no less than 4 times, I admit that I totally forgot about Okkervil River's new one. I feel shame. So I've added it. Sorry.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LOL President

Ever seen this site?

Some weird and funny shit. Photos captioned out of context and in horrible weird grammar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Got Your Top Ten Yet?

Mine's coming end of this week. Lots to choose from this year. An embarrassment of riches.

Let's compare, shall we?

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Conservative's Case for Obama

I can't help but wonder lately what rational Republicans and conservatives are thinking about their options in the upcoming Republican primaries. I mean, being of the more liberal bent myself, of course I view the slate of candidates as a godawful collection of mean spirited liars and warmongers--with a couple exceptions. Ron Paul is a lunatic but he's antiwar. And Mike Huckabee--well, I'm not really sure what to make of him.

At the same time, I wonder whether those on the American right are able to look across the divide and give any of the Democratic candidates an honest and objective look. Recently, I've gained hope. Cathy's cousin Tim has come to the hard-gained, thoughtful, and difficult conclusion that Obama deserves his support and assistance. And while I applaud his objectivity and willingness to set partisanship aside, I hold no illusions that this will happen with any significant number of US conservatives.

But a leading conservative thinker and journalist has inspired a little bit of hope.

This blog post by Andrew Sullivan links to this article, also by Sullivan, and both go a long way in revealing how Barack Obama appeals to the conservative voter. And while I'm biased to start with, it all makes perfect sense to me. Rather than try to summarize Sullivan's points, I'll let you read the article and see what you think for yourself. But I will offer my own perspective.

For me a large part of my decision to support Obama lies simply in the sense of hope I feel around what an Obama presidency could foster. The hope is similar to what I felt in 92 during Clinton's campaign, but it's not the same. Clinton, while a charismatic person and a brilliant politician, was as much a part of the Us v. Them political system as his predecessor. He brought the Democratic party closer to the center, but it was still purely a D v. R thing.

I don't pretend to think that Obama can cure partisan politics. To a certain extent, we need partisan politics. But the fact is that the partisanship of the Boomer generation has crippled our government and our country and has left us unable not only to have any substantial political discourse, but unable to really do anything of significance at home or abroad (launching a pre-emptive strike against a sovereign nation notwithstanding...).

Boomer politics are poisonous, plain and simple, and it's time for them to give up the reins. Obama is not of those politics. He is also not of the Civil Rights movement or the Vietnam era. His politics and viewpoints and education are largely post- these things, which gives him a freedom we need in a leader. (Dude's got a MySpace page, for pete's sake.) Newness is possible with Obama, both in thinking and acting on domestic issues and in how the world perceives the USA.

Check out the article above. There are many great points, from the simplicity of what Obama's face can accomplish to the importance of his complicated but thoroughly modern-America life story. He offers what no other candidate on either side of the aisle can really offer: A chance to start again, and to get it right.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Frozen Singletrack

Went for a great ride this morning up through the Reserve and around Shane's Loop. The trail was still frozen solid at 9:30, and the sun made the cold temps not so cold.