The caucuses are in three days and I'm terrified that John Edwards won't win. That is all for tonight.

Happiest of new years.

Michael Bloomberg

An independent run by Bloomberg is looking more and more possible. If Edwards isn't the democratic nominee, there's a very good chance that I'd cast my vote for Bloomberg.

The Four




There Were Two *Great* Records in 2007

Yes, I've posted my Best of List, but time has told me that there were only two near perfect records released this year. These are records that could compete for a Top 20 All-Time spot.

A Wrap

Not a whole lot going on as the year comes to a close. I spent the past four days visiting family in Baltimore - great, great time. I'm now back in SF and working through the last stage of my first cold/flu in about two years. I barely listened to any music over the four days in Baltimore, which was odd. I tried to spend most of my time chatting with my mom, stepfather and the rest of the family out there. It was quite nice.

I've made two quick resolutions for 2008: 1) Read two books per month. I realize that 24 books in a year isn't a whole lot, but I've probably been averaging about 5-8 a year the past few years and 2) drop ten lbs.

There are a slew of movies that I want to see before returning to work on Wednesday: "There Will Be Blood", "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead", "Michael Clayton" and a few others.

I'm feeling a bit listless right now, as I'm sure is evident in this writing.

Back to "The Deer Hunter"....

Best Pictures

I spent well over an hour on IMDB tonight just perusing lists and watching trailers.

I later stumbled upon a complete list of the Best Pictures. Here they are dating back to 1965. If I've seen the film, I've provided my rating, on a ten-point scale.

2006 The Departed 8.8
2005 Crash 4.3
2004 Million Dollar Baby 7.2
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 8.8
2002 Chicago
2001 A Beautiful Mind 8.7
2000 Gladiator
1999 American Beauty 9.5
1998 Shakespeare In Love
1997 Titanic 6.4
1996 The English Patient
1995 Braveheart 7.9
1994 Forrest Gump 9.2
1993 Schindler's List 9.3
1992 Unforgiven
1991 The Silence of the Lambs 9.4
1990 Dances With Wolves 7.8
1989 Driving Miss Daisy
1988 Rain Man 8.7
1987 The Last Emperor
1986 Platoon 9.4
1985 Out of Africa
1984 Amadeus
1983 Terms of Endearment 10.0
1982 Gandhi
1981 Chariots of Fire
1980 Ordinary People 9.7
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer 9.0
1978 The Deer Hunter
1977 Annie Hall 9.2
1976 Rocky 9.5
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 9.0
1974 The Godfather, Part II 9.1
1973 The Sting
1972 The Godfather 9.8
1971 The French Connection
1970 Patton
1969 Midnight Cowboy 8.8
1968 Oliver!
1967 In the Heat of the Night
1966 A Man For All Seasons
1965 The Sound of Music 9.3

Christmas 2007

It's only the 23rd and this has already been one of the best Christmas' in recent memory. N and I had a classic day yesterday: exchanged some great great gifts, went out for a sensational dinner (courtesy of The Blouses) and watched about 22 episodes of "Extras". This morning we slept in. Ok, we slept in until I begged her to get up so we could get omelettes. We ran into C Muenz which was a nice surprise as I've been meaning to call him.

I took the above photo while N and I were in Oregon a few months back. My big gift from N was a blown up version on a big piece of wood. It's one of the best gifts I've ever received. It's as much my creation as it is hers. Thank you, N.

2007 has been one of the most memorable years of my life. As those close to me know, I've been able to abandon some things and my will power has even surprised me. But as I said to N today, the reason that this has been such a fulfilling year has little to do with those accomplishments, but rather the realizations that I've come to. And many of these realizations surround the discovery of what's important in my life: my friendships, my family, music, art, good people in general, nature, and so on. I have seen so many things this year that simply escaped me in years past. N opened my eyes to many of these things, and many just came by being more curious.

Just today one of the greatest people/family's in my life left SF for Chicago. In years past, this friend would likely have simply been a "drinking buddy", but this year brought so much more depth to my relationships. The Blouses are now 1500 miles away, but I know my friendship with them will only continue to grow.

So many of you have added joy, support and laughs to my life. Many are here in SF, while many are spread across the country, and even the world. Tonight I received a call from someone I haven't spoken to in about a year. He just wanted to wish me well and send along his best. It was one of the best treats of this Christmas. Thanks, Z.

Tomorrow I head to Baltimore to visit some family. It's been a year since I've seen them and I can't wait.

Beth Orton's on in the background, my apartment's warm and things are good.

Happy holidays to anyone who lands on this page....

The Crocodile Cafe


Unfortunately, I never made it to the Crocodile, but I know many who did and *loved* this place.

Another sad farewell in the music business:

Seattle's Crocodile Cafe closes


Crocodile Cafe, R.I.P.

Saturday night, the Belltown club was packed once again for sets by Robin Pecknold, J. Tillman and David Bazan, with the usual "Croc" good times under way and the bar doing brisk business. Nothing suggested that those in the crowd were witnesses to the venerable music venue's last waltz.

Owner Stephanie Dorgan, who could not be reached Monday, left voice mail messages with club employees Sunday telling them they should not report for work any longer -- the Crocodile Cafe has been closed because of financial difficulties.

Eli Anderson, the club's current booker, was shocked when he received the brief voice mail from Dorgan on Sunday afternoon. As he said Monday: "We all knew the club has problems with money, but we certainly didn't think it would be closing right now. ... I was booking new shows on Saturday, so I was freaking out when I received Stephanie's voice mail. And the thing is -- band contracts require 50 to 75 percent of full payment if a club cancels their gigs, so she's probably not saving much money by closing."

Word of the closure spread like wildfire Monday through the city's music blogs, with surprised Croc fans mourning the passing of a place that played such a part in Seattle's vibrant club scene in the 1990s.

As one comment on the Three Imaginary Girls blog put it, with a bit of humor: "It really is the Decline and Fall of Northwestern Civilization around here lately." On The Stranger's music blog, another fan noted, "We've got a streetcar to nowhere, aborted mass transit, and now one less club, the best one at that."

Many anguished fans offered reminiscences about fave Croc shows since it opened in 1991, especially remembrances of seeing headliners seldom encountered in such an intimate venue.

Among those who graced the Croc's small stage were such notables as Beck, The Ventures, the Indigo Girls, Death Cab for Cutie, The Presidents of the United States of America, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Beastie Boys, Dinosaur Junior, Michael Stipe and R.E.M., Ann Wilson, Yoko Ono and Sleater-Kinney. A now-legendary Croc double bill, with a $3 ticket, took place Oct. 4, 1992, and featured Mudhoney and Nirvana (billed that night as Pen Cap Chew). A 1996 gig by Cheap Trick included a surprise appearance by Pearl Jam.

The Crocodile's closure did not come as a complete surprise to observers of the city's club scene. Warning signs of a troublesome spiral downward had started to appear with increasing frequency in the city's music-centric alternative press.

In September, Seattle Weekly reported that Dorgan's divorce papers from R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, concluded in February, included her assertion that the club has not made enough money to pay her a salary since 2000. The story was headline: "Confronted With a Perfect Storm of Challenges, Belltown's Legendary Crocodile Cafe Fights for Its Life."

On Dec. 4, The Stranger reported that a staff meeting disagreement between Dorgan and Peter Greenberg, the club's primary booker, led to his abrupt departure.

At first nothing appeared out-of-the-ordinary at the Croc on Monday, since it is usually closed that day. The club's voice-mail system was still operating and the club's Web site listed upcoming shows all the way into May, including a Jan. 26 appearance by the Decemberists -- another gig by the sort of hot group that had long added to the Croc's reputation.

However, eventually employees could be seen being let into the locked club to pick up their personal things. They were told their final paychecks would be available Wednesday.

The Crocodile Cafe & Live Bait Lounge opened April 30, 1991, only a few months before Nirvana's epic debut, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," first alerted the outside world that something new called "grunge" was brewing in Seattle. First to play at the Croc were Love Battery and P.O.T. (members of the Posies).

Those were the days before Belltown had sprouted its current crop of luxe condo towers and trendy eateries. It still retained a seedy, bohemian vibe, which is what attracted Dorgan, who was working as an attorney with a First Amendment specialty at the high-profile firm of Davis Wright Tremaine.

As Dorgan recalled for the Seattle P-I on the club's 10th anniversary: "At the time, I enjoyed putting a little balance into my life by going to weird little bars. I used to play darts at the Frontier Room. And the fact that I was in a suit made it kind of funny."

Dorgan and two partners -- who later had a falling out -- remodeled and soundproofed the Second and Blanchard storefront and backrooms that had been the home of the Athens Cafe, a Greek eatery and club. Much of the decor came from other closed restaurants, including an infusion of South Seas atmospherics from Trader Vic's, a once-legendary outpost of the Seattle establishment where the stylings of Hawaiian legend Don Ho was probably as hard as the music ever got.

The Croc soon became a hub of the city's rock scene. And it continued to hold that spot after other one-time competitors fell by the wayside and closed their doors, including RKCNDY, the Off Ramp and Moe's.

The Croc's storied history included a film role. Portions of "Georgia," a 1995 indie film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, were shot in the club.

Leigh even prepped for her role as a punk rocker with an appearance on the Croc's stage, her first ever singing in public. As she later recalled in an interview with P-I film critic William Arnold, "John Doe (the L.A. rock star, who played a supporting role in the film) called me up on stage, and there I was. And I took a breath and did it. And it was just bitchin'. I loved it. What a rush. Everyone applauded, too, though they were just being polite. I don't really have a voice, and I'm sure I wasn't any good."

Anderson, the Crocodile's current booker, had been working hard to compile an impressive list of upcoming shows in hopes of, as he put it, "leaving the club in better condition than I found it." His efforts seemed to be paying dividends, at least in the view of one well-known audience member at Saturday evening's final show.

That praise for Anderson's bookings came from Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie.

Following The Des Moines Register & The Boston Globe

I'd like to endorse my candidate. Since I simply don't understand the right, I can only endorse a democratic candidate. After looking long and hard at all of the candidates, and watching almost every debate, I will be voting for:

When this all got started, Edwards was my guy. And after about six months of paying close attention, he remains my choice. Barack Obama certainly moved up my list, but I still find him to be a bit inexperienced. And I don't mean that in terms of years of service, etc.; he just doesn't seem ready and his performances in the debates have proven this.

I'm fairly certain that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would make a fine president, but she's just too immersed in the tank to get my support. I want something new. I want someone with passion. Someone who's fired up to turn this country around. Someone who's not afraid to stick to the issues that matter to him/her. Someone who sees the big picture and isn't afraid to speak up. And most importantly (for me), someone who will grab my spirit and make me proud to be an American again.

This person is John Edwards.

Thank You, New Jersey

My home state does good:

(CNN) -- New Jersey lawmakers have voted to abolish the death penalty in the state, sending the governor a bill he has already said he will sign. The measure will make New Jersey the first state in more than 40 years to outlaw capital punishment.

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, in a file photo, has said he'll sign the bill abolishing the death penalty.

The bill will make life in prison the most severe penalty for convicted murderers in the state, including the eight men currently on the state's death row. New Jersey has not put anyone to death since 1963, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The state Assembly approved the measure 44-36 Thursday, following up Monday's 21-16 approval in the state Senate.

A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine said the bill probably will be signed into law within a few days, after the exact text is reviewed closely.

"The governor has said for quite some time that he supports the bill," said spokesman Jim Gardner.

Source: Amnesty International

The bill was introduced in November, after a state commission concluded capital punishment does not prevent violent crime, and could lead to innocent people being executed.

Some Republicans had argued police killers and terrorists should still be eligible for execution, but Democrats, who control both houses, backed the change.

"This vote marks a new chapter in our nation's 30-year experiment with capital punishment," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes executions.

"New Jersey lawmakers are demonstrating sound judgment in abandoning capital punishment after learning of its costs, the pain it causes victims' families, and the risks the death penalty poses to innocent lives."

The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, and nearly 1,100 people have since been put to death. Capital punishment is used by 37 states, most using lethal injection of chemicals. Electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging, and the firing squad are still on the books in some states.

* Florida court ruling puts executions back on calendar
* Execution stayed amid injection concerns

The most recent execution in the United States took place September 25 in Texas.

A de facto moratorium has been in place since the Supreme Court decided to review lethal injection procedures used on the majority of capital defendants. Oral arguments in the case will be held January 7 and, depending on how the high court rules, executions could be postponed indefinitely.

The last states to ban the death penalty were West Virginia and Iowa in 1965.

Among those on death row in New Jersey is Jesse Timmendequas, whose murder of 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994 led to reforms in tracking sex offenders. The state's Megan's Law requires local law enforcement agencies to give notification when convicted sex offenders live or work in neighborhoods.

The Mitchell Report

It's released tomorrow. Rumor is that there will be former MVPs and Cy Young Award winners among the names. When all the names are released and many of us see some of our favorites on there, we must remember the real culprits in this fiasco: Bud Selig and Donald Fehr. Yes, the players who pumped this crap into their veins need to be held accountable, but we all must remember that Selig and Fehr knew that this was going on and turned a blind eye. They saw record revenues around the McGwire, Sosa and Bonds years and didn't want to reveal what was behind it all. Had Selig and Fehr blown the whistle earlier, many players wouldn't have felt compelled to join in. But when the commissioner and the union head say nothing, and more athletes turn to the juice, it's *somewhat* understandable that some players would pick up a needle in order to stay competitive.

Bud Selig has done so much to tarnish this wonderful game. Tomorrow will be his lasting legacy.

Don't Think Twice..

The 72-Hour Mark

I'm told that after 72 hours, nicotine has completely left the bloodstream, and things should get better. I'm about 90 minutes from 72 hours and things have NOT gotten any better.

The past three days have been a mix of manic tirades, nausea (mostly day three), throat pain, severe irritability, unbelievable urges/cravings and overall, just an inability to sit still. Today I randomly did 25 push-ups in the middle of the workday just to take my mind off of smoking. I try to read yet I can't get past page three. I take baths but can't lay down for more than five minutes. I wake up in the middle of the night and stuff my face with whatever drink/food is within reach. It used to seem like no one smoked, now that I'm done, EVERYONE seems to smoke. I see a cigarette at every turn. It's taunting me.

How do I defeat it? Every time I consider buckling, I think the following: 1) I've now been a smoker for 18 years! EIGHTEEN YEARS! This is no longer a hobby, 2) I think of the suits in the sweet offices at RJ Reynolds. These scum are making money off of my slow suicide. No more......! 3) Cancer.

I think I'm in the homestretch. Tomorrow HAS to be easier. And if not, the weekend should be easier. Or next week. It has to happen soon.

Who Killed the Record Business?

Let's start with these chaps:

Mitch Bainwol/RIAA

Doug Morris/UMG

Andy Lack/SonyBMG

We'll get to the folks at LiveNation, Ticketmaster, EMI, WMG and elsewhere later on. But the three fellas above sure played a nice part in leading to the demise.

A new era is upon us. The era of the artist.

Clean Air

I can vividly remember the first time I bought a pack of cigarettes. I was seventeen years old and I was driving on Route 17 in Paramus, NJ. I stopped at Exxon for gas and pondered the purchase. I figured I'd just buy one pack. I mean, I clearly wasn't going to get hooked after one pack. I thought and thought. And I made the purchase. Camel Lights. This was 1990.

Today I quit. Last night I had my last smoke at about 1115pm. I quit once before for about seven months, but I started again. This time I am done.

When I woke up this morning the stress was immediate. Oddly enough, I felt ok up until about 2pm. The past four hours have been pretty close to unbearable. The cravings come about every two minutes and they come with a fury. When I sit through them, I get dizzy, or I begin to sweat. I can't sit still. I just want to put an end to this desire. But I won't.

RJ Reynolds can KISS MY ASS. You had a grip on me for 17 years but it's over. You will never see another penny of my money.

I hate tobacco companies. But I don't really blame them for my addiction. I was 17 years old and old enough to make the right decision. I made the wrong one. And I've now been hooked for half of my life. But I did visit the RJ Reynolds website tonight. Ya see, I need fuel to keep strong.

I found their job opportunities section quite amusing:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (R.J. Reynolds) faces challenges that are unique compared to most other consumer-product companies, and we recognize that some people do not wish to pursue career opportunities in the tobacco industry.

For those who might consider our company, however, it is important to know that we emphasize finding innovative ways to operate within the framework of a principled approach to product development, manufacturing, marketing and selling. To learn more see the company's Guiding Principles and Beliefs.

R.J. Reynolds offers a level of challenge, responsibility and creativity for motivated employees that stands apart from the crowd. Our company has always had an extremely low turnover rate among our employees.

Again, I don't blame the tobacco companies, but I do think that they have *some* responsibility here. Who in the WORLD could work for such scum? I guess it's the same folks who walk the halls of Exxon or the White House.

Ok, I got that all out. For the moment, the cravings have drifted. But they'll be back and they'll be strong. But only for a few days or weeks. Either way, it doesn't matter - I'm done. For good.


It's pretty amazing how much one can mature in such a short period of time. I've made so many changes in my life over the past year that it even shocks me. The majority of them have clearly been positive moves, while others remain a bit hazy, meaning that I'm growing comfortable with them, but the end result is still a bit uncertain.

I don't particularly know why, but 2007 has been a major year of reflection and internal discovery. It almost feels as if everything up to this point was practice. I've learned more about myself this year than I probably have all years prior combined. And through it all, so many things just seem better. Music has more of an impact. Friendships and family have taken on a new, much deeper, meaning. The things around me are much more visible. Things that I once essentially ignored, trees, the sky, the wind, now appear to be ever-present. Sometimes I feel as if I'm opening my eyes for the first time.

Life just holds much more meaning. This meaning was always there, but for some reason, I didn't completely see it. I do now. And I can only imagine that I'll see more and more of it in the coming days. It's a pretty great feeling. And I wouldn't be here without the wonderful people in my life. Some of you I connect with daily, yet others are more infrequent, yet just as important.

It's a good time.

Album of the Day