Friday, March 28, 2003

Album Recommendation Of The Week:


First off; yes, that voice belongs to a guy. How anyone that has anything to do with an Adam’s apple is able to create such a high falsetto is beyond me. But "Son" is blissful, poignant and really sweet like your favorite My Little Pony (I call "Buttercup!").
The first song, "Hiding Behind The Moon," is an absolute stunner akin to Elliott Smith's best, in the heyday of his heroin addiction (will someone get that guy a clean needle already? He hasn't recorded a great album since he boringly kicked the habit). In fact, it's no coincidence that Hanson is also signed to Smith's old label, Kill Rock Stars. The record execs at said label were obviously so pleased with Hanson's sound that they signed him off an unsolicited demo sent to them in the mail. Which means that they'll be really sad when Hanson ditches them in...say...about two more albums for more money with Dreamworks. Sorry, guys. Speilberg always gets what he wants.

But in contrast, Elliott Smith's music exhumes pure desperation and despair while Hanson's emits a feeling of hope, something of a positive nature, despite the seriousness of his sound. And while their styles are comparable, as mentioned, Smith's Layne Staley Shtick gets too overwrought at times. And Hanson's very appropriate cover artwork of a picture obscured by the sunlight spells out the very basic difference. This is a very sunny album.
Indeed, this is the "Son" you never had. Yes, a song like "The End of Everything Known" will make you feel that related to music.
Besides, you'll feel so much cooler when everyone else jumps on Hanson’s bandwagon after he performs his hit song from a Gus Van Sant film at the Grammy's with Celine Dion.

[ I always try to listen to an album as I write about it--which I'm doing right now--and I just have to say that I feel really weird thinking about how hot this singer must be...and then realizing it's a guy. I haven't been this confused since the time I saw that crazy plot twist in Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. Is what they were saying was that the prince was a llama all along? But that's completely insane....]

Disclaimer: Jeff Hanson had nothing to do with "Mmmbop." Those kids look like girls, this guy sounds like a girl. There’s a big difference in the grand scheme of gender confusion.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

I have been wondering a great deal lately whether always thinking about how I'm not always thinking about my father is comparable to always thinking about him.
It's been nearly three months since he passed away. Am I allowed to preoccupy myself again with minutiae? Or should I be constantly focusing on his absence?
My sanity says "minutiae." But my nostalgia says "absence." I like my nostalgia better. We have all those shared memories together.
It's OK, you will say to me. Go see a movie. Read a book. Look at stuff.
Hmmm, I'm not sure if I am ready for that, I could say back.
So, do what you're comfortable with, you say.
I'm not sure you get it. I'm pretty confused. I don't know anymore what's appropriate and what's inappropriate?
Not sure there. You're on your own.
I know, I say. That's seems to be the theme in times like this.

Epiphany: But maybe this is all not an issue of being comfortable. Maybe things are no longer "comfortable." They may never even get "comfortable." Perhaps I just need to get used to them being uncomfortable.

The most difficult aspect of this whole mourning process is that there is no specific point or date for anything. It's not like a carton of milk. It's far from being a carton of milk, skim or whole or two-percent.
And lest you think that the calendar tells you, oh, this is the day you get back into the swing of normalcy. This is Comfortable Day--It doesn't.
Because the calendar doesn't tell you these things. It just tells you that there is a day. Not what to do with it.
So, tomorrow, I wake up, still shaky on the whole this-feels-right/this-doesn't-feel-right platform.
And I may not think about my dad first thing in the morning--which hurts me. But one thing is for sure--minutes later after I brush my teeth, wash my face and get dressed, I'll remember that I hadn't yet, that morning, thought about him. And then I'll spend the next couple of hours wondering why I wasn't.

Thursday, March 20, 2003


We're at war. And the most unusual thing about being at war is that it feels more or less like not being at war. When you turn off the television, one could almost imagine that he or she was in peacetime.

Like, I'm not exactly sure exactly what the protocol is for wartime behavior. Am I supposed to be more somber? More serious looking? A bit more aggressive at the super market? Should I be wearing fatigues to show solidarity with my brethren in Iraq? Should I stay in my apartment? Because if I should, then I have been practicing for a long time now. I'm really good at that part.

Or maybe I should be listening to pensive music that makes me think about things like...war...and peace...and then the prospects of peace after war. You know, music like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Pink.
Wait....but maybe it's better to be listening to music I would listen to while driving my tank to American Victory(TM) like George Thorougood or Blink 182. Perhaps that's more appropriate. Maybe then and only then will we win (otherwise the terrorists have won). When I am blasting music people like to have on while they're plowing down the enemy--that seems like our only effective plan right now.

By the way, all of sudden I feel unpatriotic when I say things like, I hate it when Bush speaks to our country and he just looks like he wants his mommy. Can I say things like that? Is it wrong? And maybe he does just want his mommy? Is that such a bad thing?

Should I eat the French fries? Should I pass on them and head right over to the Freedom fries? I'm told that the Freedom fries are lower in cholesterol. It's so stereotypical of those French people to want to raise my cholesterol. Well, not this time, France. My cholestrol is being fought with Freedom fries. Viva la Freedom!

I can't help but notice that Geraldo also has a mustache...has anybody checked this out? Has anybody inquired as to whether Geraldo is from Iraq or not? If I was in the media, I would get to the bottom of that controversy.

Saddam definitely does not like Jewish people and I'm told people who live in Lawrence. Wouldn't it be so cool if we found out Saddam was actually Jewish himself? Absolutely wild! Maybe he and Ari Fleischer belong to the same synagogue.

All I know is that its times like these that make me say things like "Sean Penn for President in 2006."

My door man told me today that all's fair in love and war. I nodded in agreement but I'm not sure what he was saying really.

Can we say things like "you're the bomb" during wartime? Should we be a bit more sensitive when throwing the war-like vernacular around? Is it wrong for me to exclaim, "man, war's a bitch," especially when I don't know if war is really a bitch or not? And there may be some bitches who would take offense to that comparison.

What ever happened to that Bin Laden guy?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I have not written you in a while. It is nothing personal. Honest.

Yes, we're still friends. I promise.

Look, I have to run. It's a busy and hectic day but we'll hopefully speak later. But please come back.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Album recommendation of the week:


This album has sat down with my brain, had coffee with it and then politely asked my medulla oblongata to use the 87% that's been neglected all these years. My brain is more than happy to comply. My brain has said, please come in and get to know the Neurons. My brain is welcoming like that.
"You Forget It In People" lies somewhere in-between an accessible album and a difficult masterpiece, it sounds like something completely new while simultaneously reminds you of all the great rock albums you've cherished in the past. This is the sound of people that are too smart, dumbing themselves down a tad (for you) and then recording actual songs with structures, choruses and trite stuff like that.
Broken Social Scene, a large collective from out of nowhere...or Montreal, Canada (same thing), took a break from their respective pretentious instrumental projects and decided to Franzen* indie-rock.
(*the act of defying a chosen art as it lies in its current dormant state; arousing the consumer audience with something that is both commercial and artful. See Jonathan Franzen's Harper's essay on how he challenged the American novel and then wrote the Corrections).
To be honest, I'm not even sure who to compare this band with. One minute I hear Yo La Tengo, the next Jeff Buckley, then I hear the Pixies...soon thereafter there are jam-like allusions to Built to Spill... so many musical ingredients all smooshed together. It's an indie-rock smoothie.
It's also an album like this that makes me happy about being a music fan. Yes, this spontaneous masterpiece reminds me about the wonders of searching for a hidden treasure. Music like "You Forgot It In People," people, shows us that we need to be thankful for friends that can turn us on to new things and this time, that friend was Catonia.
Now, I'm thirsty for a smoothie.

For further reading on Broken Social Scene, go to:|PM&sql=Aa9fexqtaldje

On the highway of life (that you want to ride all night long), we sometimes take a turn off at the Surreal exit .

Here is that exit:

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you minute one of my alloted 15 minutes of fame. Yes, you knew me when...

Thursday, March 06, 2003



Yeah, it's me.

No, I'm not sick. Do I sound sick?

Nope, really, I'm not...uhhh...must be the poor connection. Are you on that new cell phone?

Yeah, I don't really like using cell phones that much, either. So how was your day?

Ah ha.

Three times?

Well, after that did he stop? It?s so not worth the money.

No, you must've heard wrong. I got the real story from my brother and he told me that Richie was more likely to buy into the deal if Tom was into it.

Well, I haven't spoken to Tom yet. You know, he?s not the easiest person to get in touch with.

I know. I know. It's sad. And I heard she had no idea, either. I've always said that Tom was a real inconsiderate ass.

Yeah, but you're friends with her?

Uh uh.

Look, I'm meeting up with you in about an hour. We'll talk about this then. I need to shower.

No, I don't take baths. That's so ridiculous. My grandmother takes baths.

Besides my roommates and their random pubic hair?

Oh please, I am not being a hypochondriac. It's just gross.

Oh, and this is coming from the girl that wouldn't ride a water slide because of genital herpes.

Yeah, that was you.

No, baths are cool. Very therapeutic and relaxing. I can sit in a bath, just reading and listening to tunes.

I don?t keep the radio near the bath.

Ha ha ha. Very good.

Well, I was going to wear that cowboy shirt I bought in that thrift shop in Jersey.

I was assuming that this would be a casual affair. Why didn't you mention that before?

I cannot believe you. Let's say my tuxedo was at the dry cleaner. Jesus, girl!

No, it's not. But that?s irrelevant. I cannot believe this.

I am not making a big deal out of this. This is really stupid already. I would have never agreed to go to this fiasco if I knew it was black tie only.

You cannot bring that up every time I bitch about doing you a favor. was four months ago. Not last week. Four freakin' months ago. There has to be a statute of limitations for holding people hostage with a favor.

Now, you are getting dramatic.

Honey, stop. Stop. Please.

Ok, yes, I want to go to this party. I was only being difficult.

Yes, I will wear my tux and look dashing.

I promise.

Yes, I said "promise."

Listen, why don't you go get ready and I will be ready in about forty-five minutes?


I love you, too.

Huh...hold on, I have a call waiting.


Hey. One sec. Let me get rid of my pain-in-the-ass girlfriend.


Hey, I gotta go. It's my mom on the other line.

Ok, I'll see you in forty-five.



Sorry. I told her you were my mom.

Nah, she means well. Will you stop bagging on her...

Shit. It's tonight?

Damn. Oh, damn.

I can't go. I have this black tie dinner party with...

Ok, very funny. Like I haven't heard that joke before. Listen buddy, I'm the one with a girlfriend.

I really can't go.

I know we arranged this ages ago. And sometimes you have to sacrifice for a relationship.

Alaska? No way.

No, I have the weather forecast right here. It's thirty-seven degrees Fahrenheit.

Well, I'm more likely to miss pizza than anything else.

Because I don't think Alaskans can make Pizza.

No, they can't make sushi.

I know it's called an Alaska roll but still since when is salmon and avocado Alaskan?

Well, yeah sure it's called the french fry but over there they call it les fritte...

OK, I gotta go like now. We'll talk.


Yup. Later.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

It is raining today. It's almost a stereotypically lazy day Sunday.
I have found that Ron Sexsmith's "Cobblestone Runway" is a perfect album for said day.
At first, I didn't like it but I'm realizing that sometimes music just needs the appropriate background. It wasn't Ron Sexsmith's music that fell short, it was the times I had chosen to play it. I know. This is not some sort of revelation. But it's something I had not fully acknowledged until recently--music needs a suitable time and a place. It's the only way we can truly appreciate what we are hearing (as I write this I am listening to Mogwai's "Mogwai Fear Satan," perhaps one of the most brilliant compositions of modern music) and reap the rewards that comes along with a repeated listen.
In this world of instant gratification, we are too quick to dismiss--and granted there is validity to the argument that music should not be something that grows on you, it should be instantly accessible (like Nick Hornby said)--but just like anything we put effort into, there are hidden treasures that reveal themselves with each passing spin (Sigur Ros' music proves this point).
And if it takes a rainy Sunday to show me this, then I don't mind them.
Let it rain.