John Edwards & Joe Biden

With Al Gore seemingly out of this presidential race, after watching numerous debates and following the democratic field for some time now, I will now only be pleased if either John Edwards or Joseph Biden win the nomination and land in the White House. Both are longshots at this point, with Biden's chances being extremely slim at best, however, these are the only candidates that I have faith in.

I watched Hillary and Barack last night and TRIED to believe in one of them, but they virtually did nothing for me. Once Hillary voted in favor of the Iran resolution, and then waffled endlessly about immigration last night, I've completely lost faith in her. Obama? There are things I like about him, but he's WAY too unseasoned. Most of his answers seem overly rehearsed, and when caught off-guard, he seems to just jump around in hopes of landing on a position. All told, I don't really understand the Obama hype. He hasn't impressed me at all.

Anyone who knows me knows quite well how disgusted I am with the state of American politics. Many agree that the current administration will likely go down as the worst administration in US history (you're soon to be off the hook James Buchanan), but I'm amazed at how little is being offered in 2008. At such a critical time in the history of America and the World, the best the democrats can offer is Hillary Clinton? I loved Bill, but Hillary? I may side with her on some issues, but she's a pandering politician just like many of the buffons running on the other side.

Will this country take a CLOSE LOOK at these candidates and not just jump on the Obama or Clinton bandwagon. John Edwards and Joe Biden are the only answers. These guys aren't perfect, but for the most part they stand up for what they believe in. They speak openly and take risks. Up until recently, I was firmly set on John Edwards, but I think I'm starting to lead towards Biden.

Given a potential job change in the near future, I've had to think about places outside of SF that I'd consider living. And ya know what, there's only one answer that I've come up with: Outside of the United States. If Rudy or Mitt land on Penn Ave., I really think that I'm gone. If It's Hillary, I may take the same road.

I'm tired. I'm tired of it all. I'm sick of insurance companies. I'm disgusted by corporate greed. Fear tactics make me want to vomit. Discrimination makes me embarassed to be an American. The thirst for blood in the souls of the current administration makes me angry beyond words.

We need more. I barely recognize this country anymore. And if things don't change, I may not have to.

"Tell Me You Love Me"

HBO remains the sole reason why I won't cancel cable. Ok, and maybe Animal Planet.

I watched the first episode of "Tell Me You Love Me" about a month ago and found that the gratuitous sex scenes were a bit absurd. I liked the character development, but the over-the-top sex scenes seemed to be a cheap way try and lure in viewers. About a week later, I decided to give it one more shot. And now I'm hooked. I just finished watching episode 9 and I can barely wait for the season finale. This is the best show about the highs lows and in-betweens of relationships that I've seen in ages.

As anyone who knows me knows, I am sucker for media with character development. Whether it be the writing of Paul Auster or Haruki Murakami, films such as "Ordinary People" or "You Can Count On Me, or the lyrics of Jeff Tweedy or Bruce Springsteen, I am always roped in by art that involves deep character analysis and development. "Tell Me You Love Me" is probably the best example of this on television right now. As we all know too well, relationships are complex, rewarding, saddening, troubling and a million other adjectives. I've always found human interaction, love, friendship and so forth to be extremely compelling. This show has all of it.

Next week is the final episode of the season. Given that I've heard literally nothing about this show, I can only guess that the ratings aren't great. That said, I truly hope that HBO holds onto this one. There's so much meaning and discovery and it's a show that captures the reality of connections in similar ways as the best art out there.

Alex Rodriguez Opts-Out

As a lifelong Yankees fan, I am happy to see the A-Rod era end. His tenure with the Yankees was way too much of a distraction. There was so much focus on A-Rod and this hampered the Yankees' ability to create cohesive units as they did in the late 90s. Rodriguez never truly fit in in New York, and although he claimed to "love" New York, as has always been the case with Alex, it's about the money. The Yankees were willing to offer him approximately $27M per year, yet he wouldn't even meet with them to discuss. So long, A-Rod. Be prepared to be the most hated former-Yankee ever.

The Best (or Worst) Music Video Ever

Ok, it's certainly not the worst...

Album of the Year/Decade

There's no more need for discussion. Josh Ritter's "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter" is HANDS DOWN the best record released this year. Actually, I can't think of a better record since maybe Richard Buckner's "Devotion & Doubt" in 1997.

This is Bob Dylan meets Springsteen meets The Beach Boys meets Josh Ritter. Lyrically, musically and spirit-wise, this is a remarkable piece of art. It's the first five-star record of the 2000s.

"What's it take to make the time drop, all these kids who think they're quick on the draw"

FEMAs Fake Press Conference

How do these assholes get away with this? And the White House scolds them? Hilarious. I know I'm speaking the obvoius, but we need this administration to end NOW. NOW. NOW.

I Have Seen the Future of Rock n' Roll and Its Name...

Off of the top of my head, I can think of a few shows that really changed things for me. These were shows that brought rock n' roll or some emotion(s) into me and wouldn't let go. It's why music drives me. It's why music has always meant so much to me. There was Marah in '98, Apollo Sunshine at SXSW '05, Slobberbone at SXSW '99, Wilco at Irving Plaza '97 and of course, all of those Springsteen shows.

Last night it happened again. I never really knew much about Josh Ritter until a friend kept pushing him on me. At first, "The Animal Years" didn't hit me that much. And with the plethora of music out there, for some reason, I didn't return that often. Then came "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter". Wow. This record has BLOWN ME AWAY. I hear early Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Highway 61 Dylan. Ritter's new record might be the best record I've heard in ten years.

Last night I got to see him perform live for the first time. I had high expectations and those expectation were FAR exceeded. The range of emotions onstage was beyond words. First off, Ritter is ecstatic while performing. Almost every song is met with a huge smile at some point. I've never seen a musician look so thrilled to be performing. At the same time, when he's belting out the lyrics to say "Mind's Eye" you can see the anger and fury. Maybe it's politics or the state of the world, or maybe it's something else. But Ritter let's it all out. He shares it all with audience.

As any fan of rock n' roll knows, in the early 70s, then Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau left a show in Cambridge, Mass. and proclaimed, "I've seen the future of rock n' roll, and it's name is Bruce Springsteen." I can't properly put into words what I saw last night, but that quote kept coming to mind.

Nice Surprises

I walk into the office this morning and lying on my desk is a vinyl copy of M.I.A.'s "Arular". I have no clue how this got here, but what a nice damn treat. I LOVE this record and have had a vinyl copy in my hand numerous times at Amoeba.

Should I try and locate the sender (it wasn't even in a package), or just let the kind gesture by someone sit? Eh, who cares, I'm pumped.

Thurs - Sun

-I arrive at the airport to see N on line, but looking a bit tense (which she rarely looks). Turns out she forgot the dresses for the two weddings and will need to catch a quick cab home and return to the airport. We make the flight by about two minutes.
-We arrive in Charleston and my suitcase doesn't follow.

-Still no suitcase.
-Confession: Due to a major time constraint and ZERO clothes, I stopped into Wal-Mart. I bought packages of t-shirts, boxers, socks and pack of smokes for a grand total of $26. I still can't believe that I went to Wal-Mart.
-Sister gets married. I see a lot of my father's side of the family but keep cautious distance. We had a fun time. It was great to meet my now brother-in-law who seems like a pretty class guy.
-Still no suitcase.

-Negative on the suitcase (oh, the airline was US Air).
-Drive from Myrtle Beach to Charleston to catch wedding #2.
-Attend the wedding of a friend I've known since about the age of six. Wonderful wedding and a great time.
-Get to hotel at 1130pm and set alarm for 4am.

-Get to airport at 5am.
-Suitcase arrives at Charleston airport. I pick it up.
-Stand in line at AirTran check-in for over an hour. We're then notified (along with about 40 other passengers) that they couldn't hold the flight. Everyone on the line was waiting for just THIS flight, but they had only one person at the check-in.
-We're informed that we can take an 1140am flight to Philly, wait 3.5 hours and then get to SF at 730pm (we were scheduled to arrive at 1215pm). We agree.
-N and I go through security and I get singled out. Pretty smooth check although I had to wait about 15 minutes.
-Nice guy on line informs me that AirTran refunded his fare for the inconvenience. I haul ass back through security and request the same deal. They put in the request.
-I go through security and they pick me out AGAIN. My patience runs thin and I'm a bit unnerved. I get through without ending up in cuffs.
-We arrive at SF at 710pm.

I am now home. What a whirlwind of a weekend. It was great to see the weddings of my sister and a lifelong friend. But man, that travel experience was straight out of a horrible Ben Stiller movie.

Thank you N for persisting through it all. All in all, it was a very nice long weekend, despite sleeping a total of about five hours.

Good night.

Emptying eMusic

With a short trip on the horizon, I had to use up the rest of my eMusic tracks before the month's downloads expired. A nice little mix here:

Various Artists - The Complete Stax, Volume 2, 1968-1971
Red House Painters - Red House Painters
Otis Redding - Good To Me: Live at the Whiskey a Go Go, Volume 2
Echo and the Bunnymen - Siberia
Scott Walker - And Who Shall Go....

0 downloads remaining....until next month Top 20

I've now been on for over two years. If you discount vinyl, cds in my car and cds on my cd player, the following are the artists I've listened to most (along with plays):

Wilco 1,094
Bruce Springsteen 998
Josh Rouse 926
Bob Dylan 831
M. Ward 650
Richard Buckner 612
Okkervil River 594
Eels 574
Elliott Smith 548
Bonnie "Prince" Billy 539
Uncle Tupelo 512
Damien Jurado 483
Nick Drake 442
Josh Ritter 436
Spoon 423
Aimee Mann 389
Centro-matic 389
Neil Young 377
Son Volt 358
Iron & Wine 342

The New Yorker: How Indie Rock Lost Its Soul

I disagree with a lot of what she has to say, but nonetheless:

The Arcade Fire Joins Springsteen


From Bruce's fan site,

October 14 / Ottawa, ON / Scotiabank Place
Notes: Four more tour premieres tonight, including "Tougher Than the Rest" (an audible, in the "Heartbreak"/"Brilliant" slot on the setlist) and "Backstreets." But when the spot-on debut of "Backstreets" isn't the big story of the night, you know something unusual happened. Yep, in the six-song encore, Bruce and the E Streeters were joined by members of Arcade Fire, husband-and-wife band co-founders Win Butler and RĂ©gine Chassagne. First up was "State Trooper," a song Arcade Fire has been known to cover, and which the E Street Band hasn't played live since the Born in the U.S.A. tour. After that, they all went into "Keep the Car Running," a hard-hitting track from Arcade Fire's magnificent Neon Bible. [Stream the album version here.] We're always hoping for more covers in the set, any chance this one stays in? No? Well, the chances weren't good that it'd get played in the first place, either... so we can dream. In any case, quite a curveball in the indie band's homeland, and a cross-generational mingling of talent on par with the R.E.M. team-up of 2004.

Falling In Love

How often do we get to experience this? Whether it be with a girlfriend/boyfriend or something else, I'd say that it's pretty rare. Maybe it's a band or a movie, or perhaps your home or a vacation spot. How often do we find something that really captures us, buries itself within us and seems to touch our soul? I can only assume that for most, it doesn't happen often.

And how many of us can say this for their JOB? Yes, a job. The majority of us work to pay the bills, to buy food, to provide shelter, but the actual job itself holds little personal meaning. But some of us get lucky. And I was one of those people.

When I graduated college in 1996 I was considering but two career choices: 1) The music business or 2) pursuing a phD in Sociology. Due to financial constraints, I chose the former. It's been a good ride, but it took me about a decade to find the job that I'd waited for. I'd ALWAYS wanted to land in a role where I was working to help musicians and independent record labels. Why? Well, it drove me crazy that the truly great artists of any time period were often paid little heed. I mean, how could a band as good as The Jayhawks get virtually NO attention? Why did it take 30 years after his death for Nick Drake to get noticed? How did Richard Buckner get dropped from A&M after releasing "Devotion & Doubt" and "Since"? I mean, these were BRILLIANT records. Obviously the label did virtually nothing to push his art. And that's a damn shame.

In late-2005 I landed the job I'd been waiting for my entire life. I walked in the doors on my first day thinking that I could finally play a part. Although it may be a small part, I thought I could play a role in changing things. I could expose the truly great artists. I could offer them tools to reach a wider audience. I could hear what they wanted and needed and try to institute those needs.

For those who know where I'm employed (yes, I'm still there), we took a major hit this past week. More than half of our staff was let go, and a good portion of these people were incredibly hard-working, passionate and in it for the same reasons as I was. I didn't even lose my job, yet I was in tears numerous times this past week. Sure, the company made some good decisions and some bad ones, but for the most part, we really tried to carry out this vision. It was an incredibly wonderful place to work. I made friendships that will likely last a lifetime (both inside the company and out). I learned more from some of my mentors than I learned in the previous nine years in this industry.

I was lucky. Very lucky. I can't thank AR enough for believing in me and bringing me on board. Who knows what will happen over the next few weeks/months, but this experience has changed me. I can only dream of finding something so rewarding again. The team that I managed was comprised of two of the most driven and passionate people in the business. They're so talented that I know they'll be fine. But the chances of us working together as we did are likely slim. And pardon the emotion, but that breaks my heart.

We'll see what the future brings. Whatever it does, my time at this company will never be forgotten. Ever.

Why I May Leave the Democratic Party

Oh, there are so many reasons, but the following comments by Nancy Pelosi really sum it up:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in a determinedly good mood when she sat down to lunch with reporters yesterday. She entered the room beaming and, over the course of an hour, smiled no fewer than 31 times and got off at least 23 laughs.

But her spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic "base" over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

"Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."

Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."

Though opposed to the war herself, Pelosi has for months been a target of an antiwar movement that believes she hasn't done enough. Cindy Sheehan has announced a symbolic challenge to Pelosi in California's 8th Congressional District. And the speaker is seething.

"We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow," Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their "passion," Pelosi called it "a waste of time" for them to target Democrats. "They are advocates," she said. "We are leaders."

NY Yankees & Joe Torre

It looks like tonight will be the end of an era, of sorts. This Yankee run, which began in 1995 (despite losing to the Mariners), was one hell of a run. Many of the heroes have since left or retired, most notably Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius. But there were also many others who contributed to this amazing run: Jimmy Key, Darryl Strawberry, Charlie Hayes, Wade Boggs, David Wells, David Cone, Jim Leyritz, Tino Martinez, El Duque, John Wetteland, Joe Girardi, Jeff Nelson, Tim Raines and the list goes on.

There are but a few remaining from the core of this run. Derek Jeter. Jorge Posada. Mariano Rivera. And, of course, Joe Torre. Joe Torre brought such class and balance to the team, its fans and to the city of New York. He has been beloved by New York for over a decade.

All that said, it does feel like it's time for a change. Not because of Torre, but rather just because of time. He guided the ship for many of the most exciting years in New York Yankees history. Without his leadership, I highly doubt that the Yankees would have won four World Series titles and made the playoffs year-in and year-out.

When spring rolls around, the Yankees will see a new skipper calling the shots. But there will never be another Joe Torre, and there will never be another Joe Torre era. It was special. The #6 should be put to rest for good, right smack in between Joe D. and The Mick.

Reunion Weekend


At the age of 33, there are three friends from grammar school that I still remain in contact with. This past weekend, two of them came out to SF for a bachelor party. Well, it wasn't a bachelor party in the traditional sense of the term. We basically just hung out, had some good meals, listened to a TON of music and jumped around the city. I first met these two guys in about 1979 in Allendale, NJ. We now live in different parts of the country, yet this weekend it was basically the same as its been our entire lives - out of control laughter, tons of memories shared, new memories made and a connection that we've had for almost thirty years.

I'll see them both (as well as the best man who was with us all weekend) in about two weeks for the wedding.

"Some things never change" has never sounded so good.

A Little Rock Journalism

Giving a go at doing music reviews again. You can find my first here:

Remembering Nick Drake

Tonight's Lecture Series with Gabrielle Drake, Joe Boyd and Jolie Holland was a treat beyond words. It was kind of like listening to Nick Drake's music - there's really no way to explain it; it just hits you, in a way that no other music does. There has never been an artist like Nick Drake and there likely never will be.

Getting a minor glimpse into Nick's life truly touched me. I walked out and all worries, etc. were temporarily swept away. It all came into perspective. Unreal. Like Nick's music, there's really no reason to summarize what was discussed, mostly because it's all just very abstract and far from concrete. It's all some sort of mystery. As Gabrielle Drake said, "that's just the way it should be".

Noise Pop: Thank you once again.