Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Week on the Range

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

The Rural Alberta Advantage

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.


The great thing about this video clip is not how spot-on Peter Schiff is about the then-looming, now-full-blown economic crisis. It's the treatment he gets at the hands of the bloviators and big TV personality types. And that this all happens on FOX News makes it sweeter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Valverde to focus 2009 on... duh

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


Did you know that Hendrik Hertzberg, the New Yorker writer responsible for some of their best editorial pieces, has a blog on the New Yorker website?

He does.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday on the Range

I recorded a new show on Wednesday night, and it'll be running Friday from 1 to 3 mountain time. It's my tribute to Cathy and to Eleanor. There's some great music, some new some old, more country-inspired than I usually allow myself to get on Range Life.

Check it out. Gimme feedback. Say hello.

Lincoln's 200th

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

Tonight on the Range

I've been away from the studio for some weeks. I have every intention of getting down there tonight to do my show live at 5pm mt. Of course, considering what's just happened and the states of mind and body that follow, I reserve every right to not go live and run a killer repeat.

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

For Eleanor Rae

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

Real Life

The glow of the past week has faded into normal life, a bit. It's rainy and grey here in Boise, the days are getting shorter, and the geese honk overhead at all hours.

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.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Barack Obama

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

I Voted

I arrived at my regular polling place 15 minutes before voting would begin. Although I'm usually one of 2 or 3 people in the room during an election, this time the line stretched from the front door to the parking lot, and it was obvious that everyone in that line was happy to be waiting.

The cadre of older ladies who run this polling place were excited, too, even though it was obvious they were a bit overwhelmed. Idaho has changed from a punch-card system to a fill-in-the-oval scanner system this year, complete with brand new cardboard cut-out voting booths and felt-tip pens. It felt like a step backward, technologically speaking, but no matter. The cookies and brownies were laid out next to the tables and tables of fabric swatches and quilts for sale (I vote in a senior center), and while these things usually strike me as cute and folksy in my polling place, this time they struck me as essential.

At a moment when we hope to tip the country's political system on its side to best shake out all the trash, when we hope to usher in a brand new day, it is comforting to know that drastic change can happen alongside things that deserve to stay the same.

America's Women

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sullivan: Obama for President

Once again, Andrew Sullivan has made his case for an Obama presidency. He's indicted the Bush administration, defined the lay of the land, and made plain the direction this country must take in order to leave the darkness of the last 8 years behind.

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

Obama on Stewart, Part 1

Sedaris on the Undecideds

"I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention? To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?' To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

- Author David Sedaris, on undecided voters

Rednecks for Obama

This makes me feel pretty good.

Just when you really invest in a stereotype, someone comes along and knocks it over. And he's out there on the street handing out bumper stickers. Anything can happen.

That awful woman down the block

I wonder if she knows that kids can't vote?

"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."

Who are these people?

The NY Times talks to that 4% of us who just can't decide.

"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."