Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This past weekend Cathy and I packed up the hounds and headed up to Sun Valley for a Christmas getaway (that's, to get away from Christmas). Very smart. There was tons of new snow up there, maybe more than we'd ever seen.
The drive up was a little nervy but not too bad. New snow tires and a steady pace did the trick. And worth the drive: Sun Valley was a true winter wonderland.
The hike up to the yurt went pretty quick--it's only a couple kilometers from the lodge.
The woodstove heats it up in no time.
We had a fantastic meal of pork chops (sent from Iowa by Cathy's dad), new potatoes, curried carrots, and a very nice pinot noir. We played Yahtzee, we read, we laid around, and the silence and the heat from the fire lulled us to sleep. Of course, we had to wake up every couple hours to feed the fire, as it got down to about 2 that night, but still, a lovely evening.
The next day, we hiked out in another few inches of new snow. Our snowshoes made a trench deeper than our dogs are tall, and that's no small feat.
We skied the Harriman Trail south from the lodge for a couple hours, then had a snack and a bloody Mary in the lodge before heading toward Ketchum.
We stayed in our friend Bob's condo in Ketchum that night, opting for delivered pizza and a TV movie rather than braving the winter storm and Christmas crowds for a meal in town. Wise decision.
A short hike the next morning with the hounds in yet more new snow, and then we hit the road for home. Right around Gooding it was like someone flipped a switch, the snow turned to rain and the roads were clear. Not so nice, but it made for an easy drive back to slushy Boise.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We need more of this in the world.
This article from the NY Times tells of young Muslims, disaffected by the abuse of their faith by fundamentalists, definitely American but put off as well by greed-based politics, who forge their own identities. Just like millions of American kids have done through punk, or jazz, or rock and roll, these kids and young adults are creating who they are.
Check it out. It's a good read, and a very hopeful thing.
Photo from NY Times.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Andrew Sullivan didn't like Obama's choice of Rick Warren to do the Inaugural Invocation. I think there were loads of people--gay and straight--who were dismayed by the choice.
But I think that's knee-jerk, and deeper thought on this decision could yield some interesting insights on the discomfort of change, the deeper thought required to institute it, and the trust we must have for the man who we just voted into the highest office in the land.
As he says, "I fear that in responding too viscerally to the Warren choice, we may be throwing something very valuable away far too prematurely."
Sullivan reflects at length on this topic in a most profound entry to his blog.
I think it's good for me. I can tend to move through music fairly quickly, always on the lookout for new stuff to play on the show, and I don't give many things the time or spins they deserve. So I get to hang out with them again for this. And since I can never get a list down to 10, there's a whole lot beyond #10 worth noting.
Also, I'm going to post lists that other people send me, so send it along if you want it here.
And without further rambling, here it is, my Top Ten Albums of 2008, and a whole lot more.
Top 10 Albums of 2008
- TV on the Radio ~ Dear Science
- Deerhunter ~ Microcastle
- Why? ~ Alopecia
- The Rural Alberta Advantage ~ Hometowns
- Frightened Rabbit ~ The Midnight Organ Fight
- Deerhoof ~ Offend Maggie
- The Hold Steady ~ Stay Positive
- Flying Lotus ~ Los Angeles
- The Dodos ~ Visiter
- Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid ~ NYC
Los Campesinos! ~ We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed
Hammock ~ Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
Alias ~ Resurgam
High Places ~ High Places
Sera Cahoone ~ Only As the Day Is Long
Dosh ~ Wolves and Whistles
Vivian Girls ~ Vivian Girls
Fuck Buttons ~ Street Horrrsing
The Sword ~ Gods of the Earth
Little Joy ~ Little Joy
Ass-stompinest non-list-makinest records
Tapes n' Tapes ~ Walk It Off
The Black Angels ~ Directions to See a Ghost
The Raveonettes ~ Beauty Dies EP
The Cops ~ Free Electricity
Nomo ~ Ghost Rock
Okkervil River ~ The Stand Ins
Invasion ~ How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Madness
Kris Doty ~ Smoke In the Mirror
08s dance traxxx
Crystal Castles ~ Crystal Castles
The Orb ~ The Dream
Thomas Fehlmann ~ Lowflow
Ratatat ~ LP3
Cut Copy ~ In Ghost Colours
Brazilian Girls ~ New York City
Deastro ~ Keeper's
Fujiya & Miyagi ~ Lightbulbs
Jamie Lidell ~ Jim
From the sophisticates
James Blackshaw ~ The Cloud of Unknowing
Anathallo ~ Canopy Glow
School of Seven Bells ~ Alpinisms
Calexico ~ Carried to Dust
Stereolab ~ Chemical Chords
Atlas Sound ~ Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Brilliant yet disposable
Vampire Weekend ~ Vampire Weekend
Santogold ~ Santogold
Ra Ra Riot ~ The Rhumb Line
Hot Chip ~ Made In the Dark
The Raveonettes ~ Lust Lust Lust
Crystal Stilts ~ Alight of Night
The old faves produce, but come up a little short
Iron & Wine ~ The Shepherd's Dog
The Helio Sequence ~ Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Spiritualized ~ Songs in A&E
The Walkmen ~ You & Me
Returns to form
Obits ~ 7"
Portishead ~ Third
REM ~ Accelerate
James McMurtry ~ Just Us Kids
File under Saturday morning songs
Robert Plant & Allison Krauss ~ Raising Sand
Ray LaMontagne ~ Gossip In the Grain
Fleet Foxes ~ Fleet Foxes
Bon Iver ~ For Emma, Forever Ago
Belle & Sebastian ~ The BBC Sessions
The best of the sleepiest
Brightblack Morning Light ~ Motion to Rejoin
Desolation Wilderness ~ White Light Strobing
More freak than folk, and all the better for it
Women ~ Women
The Ruby Suns ~ Seal Lions
Au ~ Verbs
Notes from the continued divergence of hip-hop
Reefer ~ Reefer
Koushik ~ Out My Window
Restiform Bodies ~ TV Loves You Back
Roots Manuva ~ Slime and Reason
Madvillain ~ Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix
Best of bleeps and bloops
Autechre ~ Quaristice
Tobacco ~ Fucked Up Friends
Animal Collective ~ Water Curses
Four Tet ~ Everything Ecstatic Part 2
Until the Ice Melts (Texas electronic music comp)
Matador Intended Play, Fall 08
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Hey, Chris-As promised, here's my top music...
2008 Top 10 Albums 1 Deerhunter Microcastle 2 Okkervil River The Stand-Ins 3 Shearwater Rook 4 Cut Copy In Ghost Colours 5 TV on the Radio Dear Science 6 MGMT Oracular Spectacular 7 Black Angels Directions to See a Ghost 8 Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer 9 Experimental Aircraft Third Transmission 10 The Hold Steady Stay Positive Close ones… Times New Viking Rip it Off Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs The Walkmen You & Me Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes Frightened Rabbit The Midnight Organ Fight I want to see yours when you get it done.Harlan
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We've had a gorgeous fall and a notable lack of cold weather and snow. When you're as dry as Boise in the summer, snowpack is very important, and we're finally getting some up here.
Cathy and I took the dogs for a hike in a fresh 6 inches today. It was cold and calm and beautiful up in the trails near our house.
The dogs were charged up from the moment they stepped out into the snow this morning. They love this time of year.
The roads will likely be just bad enough to keep me from riding in the morning. Might be time to get back into my winter bus routine.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Send me your lists and I'll put them up here. Mine'll be a bit longer than 10 items this year, I'm sure.
Best of 2007
Best of 2006
Best of 2005
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I just got my hands on a couple new tracks from the brand new band Obits. Who the hell is that, you ask? That's only the new rock outfit fronted by none other than Rick Froberg, that's who. (Who the hell is that? C'mon. Dude from Drive Like Yehu? Hot Snakes? That's right.) If you ain't excited, you must hate rock and roll.
Also got some of that new Tobacco for ya. Juana Molina, Thao, Mount Eerie, The Raveonettes, and Squarepusher, too.
We'll dig deeper into The Rural Alberta Advantage, Anathallo, Finn Riggins, Desolation Wilderness, Reefer, Stereolab, Deerhunter, Okkervil River, and a whole lot more amazing new music.
And remember: It's time to start putting together those Best of 2008 lists, too. I'm running behind. I'll start mine tonight, 5 to 7pm on RadioBoise.
Monday, December 08, 2008
This article in the NY Times details the Indian Muslim reaction to the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Though many demonstrations are small, the Muslim community has come out hard and unified against these attacks and others like them.
The roots of Muslim-Hindu strife are old and run deep, but Muslims recognize the need to disassociate themselves from this terrorist activity. As I said in my earlier post on this subject, it's no longer enough to assume a defensive posture and say that terrorism and Islam are not the same thing. More is needed. From the story:
Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries, saying the men were not true Muslims. They also suspended the annual Dec. 6 commemoration of a 1992 riot in which Hindus destroyed a mosque, in an effort to avert communal tension. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks.
As one man interviewed for the story says, "“It’s a pity we have to prove ourselves as Indians... But the fact is, we need to speak louder than others, to make clear that those people do not speak for our religion — and that we are not Pakistanis.”
OK, that last bit is a little disturbing, as he and other voices in this piece suggest that Pakistan is a terrorist state and that while it's important to recognize that all Indian Muslims are not terrorists, we can't necessarily say the same about Pakistanis, but still.
An effort from the West, from the outside, will not eradicate Islamic terrorism. The effort has to come from within. This seems at least a couple solid steps in that direction.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Plenty of not-exactly-new-but-still-exciting music as well. TVOTR, Frightened Rabbit, Vivian Girls, Four Tet, and so forth.
Check it out. 1 to 3, mountain time, on RadioBoise.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
He makes good points. Taking to the streets to denounce this--not saying "Oh, that's not what Islam is all about, those are bad apples" or "But they've been oppressed and blah blah blah"--would be a powerful signal both to the world and to homegrown terrorist wannabes.
Denouncements from the West mean nothing. This is a problem in their religious community that needs to be dealt with, stamped out, at home.
Monday, December 01, 2008
We did a great hike up Murdoch Creek on Saturday afternoon, after a burrito at KBs. That night we went to the Ketchum Grill and had a wonderful dinner, lamb shank for me and lemon pasta for C. Then it was back to the condo for a date with the sofa and WALL-E. Great time.
Sunday morning, after breakfast, Cathy did some hanging out and writing and relaxing in Ketchum proper, and I took the dogs and the flyrod out on the Big Wood River for some late season trout harassment.
Up by Fox Creek I had no luck at all (as the wise folks at Sturto's said I would not), so I took their advice and hauled it down toward Hailey. I parked on Zinc Spur Road (I think) and hoofed it through the brambles to the water. Found nice confluence and some down trees, caught two small rainbows in the first hole I tried, and that was it for the day. Good time, though, and therapeutic as hell to get out and stand in the river in the chilly sunshine.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I've got some good new music to lay on y'all this week.
Tonight, Wednesday, 5 to 7, and Friday from 1 to 3. I'll be playing something from The Rural Alberta Advantage, and I've just got my hands on the new ones from Calexico and Fujiya & Miyagi.
Tune in and you might also hear Kieren Hebden and Steve Reid, Reefer, School of Seven Bells, Jaguar Love, Stereolab, Little Joy, Crystal Stilts, Deerhunter, and a lot more.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've not done any new music posts in a while, so rather than engage in the daunting task of backtracking and writing by priority, I'll just start in with something cool I got this morning.
The debut from Rural Alberta Advantage, called Hometowns, is most easily described as a gorgeous indie rock record that recalls and re-imagines Neutral Milk Hotel through a more lush, more cautious and steady approach. Percussion is fuller and softer, though still with teeth, and the vocals are less urgent and pained than they are considered and thoughtful.
Initial perceptions can be off, but I suspect I'll be listening to this new Toronto band a lot in the future.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Alejandro Valverde, the green bullet and Spanish cycling phenom, has declared that he will focus all of the 2009 season on winning the Tour de France.
Don't we hear this every year? Don't get me wrong. Valverde's a great rider and I often root for him. But every year he says this as if it's a big change in plans or goals, and every year he blows one or two stages big time to come up short. Maybe his early season will be empty this year. Maybe he's got new training plans. But it seems at some point he will have to learn to focus on what he's already great at: classics and short stage races, not the 3-weekers that consistently find him coming unglued at some point.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Check it out. Gimme feedback. Say hello.
It seems terribly appropriate to me that we as a country will celebrate Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday in February of next year, just a few weeks after we celebrate the inauguration of this country's first black president.
The Smithsonian's got a great page with a cool interactive timeline and articles about his speeches, the Douglas debates, and lots of other stuff that I haven't yet read but will.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I've got loads of new music. Kieren Hebden and Steve Reid, Reefer, School of Seven Bells, Jaguar Love, Stereolab, Little Joy, Crystal Stilts, Deerhunter, and so on. But something tells me I might be more inclined to dig back through the catalog and let emotion dictate the tracks.
Tune in. And if it is a rerun, I apologize in advance.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
On Thursday, November 13th, our daughter Eleanor Rae left us.
She never quite made it into this world, but for 6 months she was a real and tangible part of our every-minute lives. She had it tough from the start, and though we and especially Cathy did everything we could to help her grow strong, the odds and the genetic code were stacked against her.
It's amazing how deeply you can become attached to someone you've never met. The intensity of emotion during this time has left us both reeling. On the positive side, I've never felt as close to my wife as I do now. I've seen things in her, the depths of her character, that I probably knew were there but had never had the cause or opportunity to witness. She's a hell of a strong person and I'm proud to be with her.
From this experience, I can begin to understand why people change so much when they have kids. I've caught a tiny glimpse into a world where you are responsible for something larger than yourself. I've felt the pull of that connection, and I understand the drive for it.
Eleanor was tough and spirited. She tried mightily to overcome the hand dealt to her. And her fight was our fight, something we lived for every minute. No other relationship or community or cause has ever taken such a powerful hold over me. And it just happened. I didn't try to do it or have to consider any options or anything like that. It just happened. That's a pretty amazing thing.
Eventually we'll come to understand or at least deal with this. We'll always remember it, and I think that'll make us stronger. We're going to buy a brick at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial here in Boise. It seems a fitting tribute.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The euphoria Cathy and I have felt over the unfolding of the historic presidential election is severely tempered by real life. Cathy's pregnancy, nearing its 6th month, has been difficult and tenuous for some months. Since the start really. But we hung on and hung on and did everything we could do. And still, in the end, there was nothing we could do.
The darkest time of my life is undoubtedly now. I've never felt as low as I go at times right now. This whole thing is blurred as a dream, time and emotional outbursts seemingly random.
My wife is home from the hospital now, and she's groggy and tired and sad but ok. I think it'll take us a while to be good again.
We've learned through this experience that we have a lot of good friends and a very strong family support system. We're grateful to everyone for getting behind us and helping us through this. We wish it had gone differently, but it didn't, and we'll learn to live with that.
I'm at a bit of a loss right now but I needed to get something out there.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
This has not sunk in. The race is called, Barack has addressed all of Chicago and the world, and a new leadership has been voted into power in America.
We are overwhelmed. We are stunned at the outcome, giddy with possibility, weepy with joy. For so many reasons and in so many ways we are on the verge of what's next. Cynics have plenty to work with here, but cliche though it will become, as the man said, In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
There will be plenty more to say. Let's just enjoy this for a while.
pic from TPM
Monday, November 03, 2008
This column is definitely worth a read--especially for anyone who is still undecided. Keep in mind this comes from a staunch conservative. But, as he says, he puts country before ideology.
[A new start for America] will not be easy. The world will soon remember why it resents America as well as loves it. But until this unlikely fellow with the funny ears and strange name and exotic biography emerged on the scene, I had begun to wonder if it was possible at all. I had almost given up hope, and he helped restore it. That is what is stirring out there; and although you are welcome to mock me for it, I remain unashamed. As someone once said, in the unlikely story of America, there is never anything false about hope. Obama, moreover, seems to bring out the best in people, and the calmest, and the sanest. He seems to me to have a blend of Midwestern good sense, an intuitive understanding of the developing world that is as much our future now as theirs', an analyst's mind and a poet's tongue. He is human. He is flawed. He will make mistakes. His passivity and ambiguity are sometimes weaknesses as well as strengths.
But there is something about his rise that is also supremely American, a reminder of why so many of us love this country so passionately and are filled with such grief at what has been done to it and in its name. I endorse Barack Obama because I will not give up on America, because I believe in America, and in her constitution and decency and character and strength.
And the world needs that America now as much as it ever has. Can we start that healing, that rebirth, tomorrow?
Yes. We. Can.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
- Author David Sedaris, on undecided voters
"Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., handed out candy Friday only to those who shared her support for the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate Sarah Palin. Others were turned away empty-handed."
"If the country is divided between red and blue, Mr. Finke resides in a gray state, along with a proud — or embarrassed — corps of undecideds. They are a shrinking cohort of confused, procrastinating, indifferent or just plain indecisive consumers of democracy."
Friday, October 31, 2008
Recent poll results are helping to change my mind, though, based not on the numbers of likely winner, but on other questions, like some of those cited in this article from today's NY Times.
Some key points:
¶Mr. Obama is maintaining his lead, with 51 percent of likely voters supporting him and 40 percent supporting Mr. McCain in a head-to-head matchup.
¶Some perceptions of race are changing, with a marked increase in the number of people who say they believe that white and black people have an equal chance of getting ahead in America today.
¶Mr. McCain’s focus on taxes, including his talk about Joe the Plumber, seems to be having some effect, as a growing number of voters now say Mr. McCain would not raise their taxes.
¶Eighty-nine percent of people view the economy negatively, and 85 percent think the country is on the wrong track.¶Mr. Obama continues to have a significant advantage on key issues like the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Barack Obama at a rally in North Carolina.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
An American president who keeps troops in Iraq indefinitely, fulminates
about Islamic terrorism, inclines toward military solutions and antagonizes
other nations is an excellent recruiting tool. In contrast, an African-American
president with a Muslim grandfather and a penchant for building bridges rather
than blowing them up would give Al Qaeda recruiters fits.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Even more remarkable, Obama has made race — that perennial, gaping American wound — an afterthought. He has done this by introducing a quality to American politics that we haven't seen in quite some time: maturity. He is undoubtedly as ego-driven as everyone else seeking the highest office — perhaps more so, given his race, his name and his lack of experience. But he has not been childishly egomaniacal, in contrast to our recent baby-boomer Presidents — or petulant, in contrast to his opponent. He does not seem needy. He seems a grown-up, in a nation that badly needs some adult supervision.I couldn't agree more. It's time for what's next.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We'll also dig a little deeper into Matthew Dear, Holy F*ck, Four Tet, MGMT, and Animal Collective.
Tune in to RadioBoise today, Wednesday, from 5 to 7, and again Friday from 1 to 3.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
New stuff from Deerhoof, Flying Lotus, F*** Buttons, Holy F***, Matthew Dear, and some other goodies. Tune in, Wednesday 5 to 7 and Friday 1 to 3.
Obama is dominating with early voting in Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Georgia, and Ohio. I'm unsure of the current polls showing a massive lead for Obama. But equally it would not surprise me if this race actually widened, and that the final result were on a double-digit kind of scale. Just as there is a chance of the invisible hand of racism suddenly undercutting Obama in the polling booth, so there is a chance of an historic one-off turn-out from African-Americans and young people that confounds all the conventional polling expectations. We could be just as surprised on the up-side as on the down-side. There are a lot of young and black people in this country. And they usually don't vote as often as they could.
Christopher Hitchens pulls no punches in his "endorsement" of Barack Obama for president. Love him or hate him, Hitchens does have a knack for distillation, and what he lays out here in a case against McCain-Palin is pretty devastating, coming as it does from the right.
Tonight's debate should be (crushingly boring) very telling. How nasty is McCain willing to get? How well does Obama stand up to it? My own prediction is that is gets only slightly nastier than the last debate, and that it comes out a narrow Obama victory, just like last time. Then, tomorrow, the nastiness gets worse than it's ever been.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It seems way too early for this, but we went to bed last night to falling snow and woke this morning to the first white-coated foothills of the year. So I took the dogs for a walk first thing in the morning. It's still a little foggy, but you get the picture.
Winter's coming. I just hope we get some good fall first.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
They attract the ugliest, most vile elements of our society.
And there are still 4 weeks to go. All we can hope is that the larger electorate, the sensible citizens among us, will see through this disgusting trash.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
First Toby Keith says he's a Democrat who supports Obama, and now this. Who says we have to write off the South for the Republicans?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Lots of great stuff going on. Check the schedule. Here's where I'll be. Beck, Silversun Pickups, Mars Volta, Gnarls Barkley, Octopus Project, Okkervil River, Band of Horses, so much music. And if you're around, they're doing live webcasts of lots of the shows.
I'll tray and post reports here, but you know how that goes. All that beer and sun and biking and beer takes a toll.
Friday, September 19, 2008
(And Lance wants to come back and compete with that? Surely he has to be a bit nervous...)
The results, and the standings.
- 05:51 PM: The final top five on the stage1. Levi Leipheimer (Astana), 33:06
2. Alberto Contador (Astana), at 0:31
3. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), at 0:31
4. Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank), at 1:02
5. David Moncoutie (Cofidis), at 1:09
- 05:52 PM: The overall standings.1. Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana, in 77:21:52
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana, at 0:46
3. Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC, at 4:12
4. Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP) Xacobeo - Galicia
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
Alberto Contador has kept hold of the lead in the Vuelta de Espana, and as we head today into the final ITT he has a gap of 1:17 over the 2nd place rider.
However, that 2nd place rider is Levi Leipheimer, who has won on this hill before, and who could take time out of Contador. The fact that this stage is an ITT makes it all the more interesting, as Levi's role as helper to Contador is on hold.
All things being equal, Contador should be able to hold Leipheimer off. But, then, when are all things equal?
(A side note: Both these riders hail from the Astana squad that was kept out of the Tour de France, unjustly in my opinion. Considering that Contador won the Giro and the team is now headed for a 1-2 at the Vuelta, it's difficult to deny that this year's Tour did not host all top riders and that Sastre's victory, while impressive and laudable, has a tiny little asterisk next to it.)