My E-Mail To Governor Schwarzenegger

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Dear Governor,

As a proud resident of the state of California, I am absolutely embarrassed by your speech at a McCain rally in Ohio today. Yes, I understand that you're a republican and are lending your support to Senator McCain (despite his despicable campaign tactics), but your statements are flat-out lies. Do you REALLY think that Barack Obama is a socialist? I mean, really? There's no way an individual who's reached the governorship of such a great state could truly believe this. You are pandering to the weak and uneducated and it's sickening.

I thought you were above the divisive, deceitful and reprehensible actions of the republican old guard. Today made it clear that you are not.

Until today, despite disagreeing with you on a number of issues, I have supported your governorship. As of today, I no longer do. I am embarrassed to call you my governor.

Regards,
Chris Campbell

What If...

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On Tuesday night we hear the following, "President Elect, John McCain"?

For the past few weeks, Obama supporters have begun to feel as if Barack really does have a chance. That said, despite some polls having him with 320+ electoral votes, most Obama supporters have remained cautiously optimistic. I mean, we all remember 2000 and 2004, when victory was decided by a right-leaning Supreme Court (2000) and voter fraud in Ohio likely cost Kerry the election.

But after all the enthusiasm, passion and spirit brought on by Obama, what if he loses? After eight years of arguably the worst administration in the history of this country, and McCain's absolutely abhorrent campaign tactics, what if the democrats once again lose their bid for the presidency? I recall an older friend of mine saying a few months ago, "What Obama's doing in this country right now is bigger than Kennedy in the 60s. I've never seen anything like it." But what if hate, lies and corruption once again win over truth, integrity and hope? Will the democrats, independents and even republicans who found a glimmer of hope in Barack Obama just throw in the towel? Can we handle this again? To be honest, I really don't know.

A few months ago, my girlfriend said to me, without a slice of hyperbole, "If McCain wins, I truly fear that you'll be inconsolable." That line has sat with me since that night. Because I still don't know how I'll react and how I'll feel. You see, up until about a month ago, I was fairly certain that John McCain would win. Just like in 2000, I figured his hate-filled lies and deception would once again dupe a good portion of the American public, and we'd once again see evil prevail (I was going to use a lighter description, but given his tactics the past few months, screw it, this once good and honorable man has turned evil in my eyes).

But then the polls started to rise in Obama's favor. And despite a major, major reluctance to truly believe, I have to admit that I was starting to. The clouds shifted a bit and I began envisioning an Obama victory. I still get chills at the mere thought. Despite being perhaps the best democratic candidate ever, I figured that the color of his skin, combined with a gullible and largely uneducated public, that it just couldn't happen. But again, I was starting to believe.

Over the past week or two, many pundits and political "scholars" have deemed this race over. They've handed it to Obama. We'd hear that he's going to start campaigning in McCain's home state. We heard that Georgia is in play! And North Dakota!

But then we hear another shift. McCain is gaining ground in Pennsylvania. The "Joe the Plumber" bs is working as is the absurd "socialist" tag. Educated Americans are fully aware that if McCain wins, this "Joe the Plumber" fella will not benefit one bit. If Obama is elected, he will. But this fool doesn't appear to be a real person, so let's just say plumbers in general.

Democrats are starting to seize up with anxiety. We can't forget 2000 and 2004. And we see some signs of this happening again. It's almost unbearable to imagine, but what if?

Nov 5 Playlist via Wilco Songs

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If Obama wins:
"Sky Blue Sky"
"I'm the Man Who Loves You"
"Pick Up the Change"
"Promising"
"I Got You"
"California Stars"
"Dreamer In My Dreams"
"Remember the Mountain Bed"
"Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again)"
"In a Future Age"

If McCain Wins:
"Hate It Here"
"Ashes of American Flags"
"I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"
"At My Window Sad and Lonely"
"Red Eyed and Blue"
"The Unwelcome Guest"
"I Must Be High"
"Can't Stand It"
"The Lonely 1"
"Why Would You Wanna Live?"
"Jesus, etc."
"When You Wake Up Feeling Old"
"War on War"

Pick Up the Change

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Tuesday

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New Springsteen Video

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Bill Clinton w Obama

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There's something about Bill that still rubs me the wrong way in relation to Obama. Following Obama's primary victory, I've always felt that Bill and Hillary want no part of handing over the party to Senator Obama. They've done very little to help him on the campaign trail, but now that Obama appears to be in line to win, Bill wants into the party.

The last two minutes of this video are not flattering to Obama. Clinton tries to make it appear as if Obama's open-minded and wants to listen to those around him, but it's really a swipe at Obama. Watch from about 9:10 to the end. It is very clear that Obama is not happy with Bill's remarks and his body language makes this clear. When Clinton says about Obama, "You tell me what's right and I'll figure out how to sell it", this is a clear shot at Obama's leadership abilities. I had enough of the Clinton's leading up to this election, and this underhanded swipe at Obama while standing NEXT to Obama is just too much.

Out with the Clinton's and in with Obama.

The Wire Meets Obama

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Albums of Weeks 41 & 42

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Eels : Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Vagrant, 2005


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan : Ballad of the Broken Seas
V2, 2006

One Week

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I can remember the moment Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president. I can remember the same for John Edwards, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and even Bill Richardson. If you read this blog on occasion, you're well aware that I was an Edwards supporter until his run fizzled out. Once it did, I moved over to Obama. But I still had questions. I didn't know much about this young Senator from Illinois. Although it's now become a silly campaign attack, I admit that I saw a lot of promise but wasn't certain about the substance behind it all.

The last 21 months or so have proven Senator Obama to be ready. There's now no question in my mind.

But I reflect on the Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and George Bush years. All of the folks who stood beside these criminals as they condoned torture, left Americans to die in the streets of New Orleans, lied to the entire planet leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, stripped us of our civil liberties, drove the economy into ultimate despair and divided this country and the world. Oh, they all want to wash their hands now. I mean, look at Matthew Dowd, Colin Powell, and the hundreds who have simply gone quiet. They were complicit yet they now see that the mask has been stripped away and the truth is finally naked to the public. They never thought this day would come. But it has. And history will document who they were during these years, and how closely they were involved in one of the most grave and egregious administrations in world history.

We now look to one week from today. And the American voting block has the opportunity to make an almost radical shift. It's like listening to Jack Johnson for eight years and then discovering Bob Dylan. It's like reading Dean Koontz and then grabbing a Hemingway novel for the first time. Ok, I admit that my analogies are quite weak. But we're on the cusp of major, major change. This is not to say that Barack Obama, if he wins, will be an outstanding president; that clearly remains to be seen. For one, he will be handed a country in peril. Secondly, despite the clear and thoughtful decisions he's made thus far, the presidency is an entire new game.

All that said, we're very close to electing Senator Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. Given the still sensitive nature of race in this country, Obama and the democrats have not highlighted this fact, but this is an absolutely monumental moment in our history, and the history of the world. This stands with Martin Luther King Jr.

And in addition, we're about to finally address the ills that face our country, including education, health care, the economy, the huge disparity between the rich and poor, and perhaps most importantly, our atrocious standing with the rest of the world. The republicans have always made a mockery of the people and countries that support democratic candidates. And they do this, because unlike here in America, the rest of the world hasn't been fooled into thinking that republicans actually care about the average worker, and that religion, guns and abortion truly matter to them. As a party, they do not, aside from using them to court vulnerable voters. After eight years of Bush and company, to see Barack Obama stand before 100,000 people in Berlin should be applauded, not mocked. Regardless of what the right-wing dolts stay, we are in this with the rest of the world, and they know it. But they don't want you to realize that.

We are one week away. In a time like this, Barack Obama is exactly what we need. He's intellectually curious; he listens to others; he sees the world and not just us; he came from nothing and built an amazing life; he wants to unite this country and the world.

He is the hope of each and every one of us. Now let's give him the opportunity to fulfill that promise. This is truly the audacity of hope.

Things The Grandchildren Should Know - Epilogue

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Twelve Books

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Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett, Memoir, 2008: 9.4



The Night of the Gun by David Carr, Memoir, 2008: 7.6

Our Hysterical Media (Barbara West of WFTV)

Five Days Out

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As I sit in a cafe waiting for the smog check to finish on my car, I'm coming to realize that I'm returning to the person I used to be, in some senses. After being on the "cut list" with an employer, you'd expect to take a hit to your esteem, despite the circumstances surrounding the cut. But I can honestly say, and not in an attempt to coat over feelings of inadequacy, that I am feeling almost the exact opposite. I am still working through the reality of being unemployed, but I feel as if the person that I truly am is returning.

I'm just about finished reading Mark Oliver Everett's sensational memoir, Things the Grandchildren Should Know, and it's strange how much Everett's thinking with respect to work, success, culture, self-awareness and integrity, seem to match exactly what I feel is finally being returned to me. It's almost as if I was running at about 75% of myself, letting a bit over half of myself out, while playing the game with the remaining 25%. This isn't to say that I don't fully understand that in the workforce we can't always live by our standards in many facets, but it's like that 25% that I've missed and put on hold, is back. Without even thinking, I've found myself reaching out to the people who shaped the person I am now, and not in an effort to find work, but rather in a natural extension of who I was and who I now see returning.

All in all, there are certain things we do in work that we think compromise who we are and what we hold dear. Again, this is obviously a part of working for someone else, and I'm fairly certain that I'll hold a job in the future that elicits a similar, almost intangible, reality. And this doesn't and shouldn't cause us to work any less hard. I mean, finding a job that aligns 100% with one's self is basically a pipe dream. But when you're able to, once again, be true to yourself and what you hold dear, it's a pretty great feeling, especially when you weren't even 100% conscious of the fact that it was missing.

This is how feel today. Tomorrow could be totally different. And god, if this cafe doesn't turn off Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fuckin' Fire" asap, my mood will sour fast.

Sunday Picture Book

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"Love Comes To Me" ---> "Strange Form of Life"

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These two tracks open Bonnie "Prince" Billy's fantastic 2006 release, The Letting Go. The more I listen, the more I think this may be the best 1-2 opener on any record released in the past ten years. Now go to insound.com, Amoeba Records, Other Music or hell, even Amazon, and buy this near-perfect record. I've got it on CD and Vinyl (arrives this week) and I'm not kidding, despite sounding like a tedious asshat.

For the lazy loads:



Time Out of Mind

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Following the cliche "day after losing job hangover" day, this morning I awoke at 5am to realize that it was a weekday, but I did not have to go to work. No, it wasn't a vacation day, holiday or "personal" day; I just don't have a job. This is the first time in my life that I've faced this reality. I've had probably 15 different employers dating back to the age of 14 or so, but I've never been dismissed anywhere. Should the fact that 19 others at my company were "laid off", make this reality less stark? I'm not sure. Maybe.

It's now a little bit before 5pm on a Friday, a time when, at most jobs in the past, I'd be about ready to put a week of work behind me and step into a coveted weekend. But right now it's just 5pm on another day. I guess it could be Monday or Sunday or Tuesday. Fine, it's Friday. Most of my friends and former colleagues are getting ready to end another week. I'm fighting off furious urges to smoke a cigarette (something I haven't done in over ten months), an addiction that held tight for 18 years and is now begging me to come back.

This whole feeling is something I just can't explain. I've held jobs that tested my esteem (being a paralegal at the age of 28), made me feel pretty cool (Bar None Records) and made me feel proud (heading music for a time at SNOCAP). I've taken relatively large steps forward at times, while receding at a later job. And here I sit at this new place, a place that will likely take me weeks to get comfortable with. I feel the urge to immediately try and find work, but there's a large part of me that doesn't want this. I want to figure out where to next. I want to feel tested, and time will allow me to get a wider picture of where I want my life to be next. The easy way doesn't appeal to me right now, despite the obvious difficulty that everyone's having finding work these days.

I need to take this step back. I need to read some books. I hope to take more pictures. I will try and develop my friendships and my time with N. I should feel lucky to have this time. And in many senses I do. It's just reaching that comfort level that's a bit taxing right now. But I'm sure that it'll progress in the way its supposed to. And as the days pass, I'm hopeful that it'll all become more-and-more transparent. And if it doesn't, then that's how it's meant to unfold.

Unemployment

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For the first time in my 12 years in the post-college workforce, I have been laid off at a job. I left a breakfast meeting yesterday morning, turned the corner to my office and noticed about ten colleagues standing outside. I saw tears, laughs, anger, and friendship. And I was warned that I would meet my fate, whether good or bad, the moment the elevator doors opened. I made my way upstairs and felt an incredible sense of ease. Given my role in the company, I was 95% certain that I was on the cut line. And I was right.

I've now had 24+ hours to absorb this all, and the most overriding feeling and emotion I'm experiencing is a sense of being grateful. See, when I graduated college I wanted to travel down one of two paths: 1) pursue a phD in Sociology or 2) work in music. These were and still remain my two biggest passions (the former having evolved into politics and policy), and given a lack of money to fund many years of graduate school, I opted for music. And boy have I been lucky.

I have spent the past decade-plus working in almost every area of the music business: publishing, television, label, mobile, legal, journalism, social-networking and digital, to name a few. The driving force behind my desire to work in music has been to help out the artists that play such a major role in my life, and bring me not only happiness, but understanding. And in some very small sense, I feel as if I've done that.

Over the years, I have received thousands of free CDs, met countless artists who provide such inspiration in my life and worked with fantastic and incredibly passionate people, many of whom chose music over careers that could've paid far more. You see, for most of us in music, we're here not to be cool or to work in "entertainment", but rather to simply be around this art that we just can't get enough of. It's inside of us, and since we're unable to shake it, we choose to make it a full-time life. Sure, we work alongside some people who are in it for the wrong reasons (in our eyes), those who see the potential of a big start-up payout. But that is business, and I've felt so fortunate that I've always gotten along with most of those folks.

All day people have asked, "What's next for you?" and this is something I can't answer right now. I have absolutely loved my time in this industry, but there's no question that I have seen many-a-company make extremely questionable moves. And oftentimes my voice has not been heard enough. Oh, I'm not claiming to always be correct on the matters of business, but I do think that I have a very keen understanding of this space. My main weakness is that sometimes, perhaps, I don't speak up enough. I've felt so fortunate that perhaps, at times, I'm lost in the joy of the business and don't dive deep enough into the overall business processes. But when you've worked at companies that are controlled by a few at the top, it's hard to drive your vision. Lesson learned. If I do stay in music, I will only do so if I'm acutely involved in the overall decisions of the business.

I will take the next few weeks and take a step back. I have been unbelievably lucky to work in music, perhaps my biggest passion in life. There's not a few hours that go by, where music isn't streaming into my ears. It's something I just can't live without. But does it need to be my career going forward? Maybe. Or maybe not. As the days play out, I'm sure that it'll come to me.

Eels : "Last Stop This Town" (Video)

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy : "Goodbye Old Stepstone" (Video)

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Jens Lekman : Black Cab Squared

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Right Now, John McCain is America's Biggest Asshole

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Yes, today he surpassed George W. Bush. With zero plan on any important front, McCain has now begun relentlessly attacking his counterpart, firing off one lie after another. First he fabricated Obama's "relationship" with Bill Ayers. And now Sarah Palin and a bunch of surrogates are claiming that Obama is not only a Socialist, but a Communist. Add to this the allegations that Obama's a "baby-killer", a terrorist, a Muslim and an elitist (his net worth is less than 5% of McCain's), and McCain has now gone down a path that no presidential campaign has ever visited. This is worse than the 2004 Georgia Senatorial race in which Saxby Chambliss claimed that Vietnam-hero, Max Cleland, who lost both legs and one arm in the war, was a terrorist sympathizer.

This has gone too far, way too far. If the republican party had any ethics and "patriotism", they would vocally condemn this deeply hateful and deceitful campaign. If McCain does end up losing, he will return to the Senate the mockery of the 100 person group. His reputation will be tarnished for good. If he wins the presidency, well, god help us.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy in Big Sur Video

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This is the first video or audio I've found of this show. As the weeks have passed since this night, I can now say, without a moment of hesitation (or even hypberbole), that this was among the greatest shows I've ever seen.

Obama Day In Pics

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Phonebanking in San Francisco







Obama in St. Louis

Beck's "Modern Guilt" (Video)

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Man do I love this song:

Modern Guilt - Beck

Big Light Covering Gillian Welch

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It's a pretty cool feeling when a good friend's band has improved to the point where you actually love the band for the music alone. It's equally cool when they bust out covers like Gillian Welch's "Wrecking Ball".

M. Ward New LP on the Way

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In February, M. Ward will release Hold Time on the beloved Merge Records. Guests include his She & Him pal Zooey Deschanel, Lucinda Williams, the dude who fronts DeVotchka, and the fella who used to front Grandaddy.

Having spent many, many hours with Ward's records, I've come to the conclusion that his last record, 2006's Post-War is hands-down his best. It's a record that takes time to fully absorb, but once you do, it's clear that this one's a near masterpiece. Ward is so on his game right now, that Hold Time has the potential to remove the word "near".

Obama's Even Somewhat Comedy

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Nathan Moore (Video)

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Springsteen in Michigan for Barack

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"Used Cars"


"The Ghost of Tom Joad"

In My Life

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Having passed the middle mark of October, I am now less than one month shy of my 35th birthday. As I typed that, it still remains absolutely astounding to me that I am a few weeks away from my 35th birthday. Those close to me won't hesitate to note that I still act as if I'm way short of the 35 mark. For one, on occasion, I still like to go out and drink a bunch with my friends. Secondly, it can be argued that I still claim to be "finding myself" as far as my career aspirations. When it comes to marriage and children, despite being with the girl of my dreams, I'm still "figuring things out". I won't deny any of these. Although I feel as if life has become much more clear over the past few years, there are basics that I'm still working out.

With three-plus decades under my belt, and much of my life to be determined, I have been reflecting on some of the most important external events of my life. See, we all have our passions, whether it be relative to sports, our family, writers, or any slew of things that grab hold of us and trigger something that we can't rightly explain. For almost three decades the New York Yankees have held onto something inside of me. Every season brings on questions and uncertainties, but as the season rolls on, I'm following game-by-game. I saw Tino Martinez hit that home run against he Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. I witnessed David Wells' perfect game. And each of these events grabbed me and remain in the forefront of my memories. I saw my sister get married. I watched two of my favorite bands, Wilco & The Jayhawks, perform together in a damn zoo in Cincinnati in 1996. I stood with a few hundred supporters in a New York bar as John Kerry pummeled the competition in the democratic primary. These are only a speckle of the things that I've seen or experienced that meant the world to me.

But this is all different. It's quite likely that my time here is just about half over, and with half-a-lifetime behind me, in nineteen days I will experience the most important day of my lifetime. Despite living a somewhat comfortable life, for reasons I can't eloquently explain, I have always sided with the less fortunate. I've never completely understood the pull of the republican party. Aside from ludicrous fabrications to the less fortunate, and fawning to the elite, I've never quite grasped how the right wins national elections. But this year is different. Barack Obama is different. When I grew up, I often heard about John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his ability to pull the nation together in a time of need. As much as I admire JFK, Barack Obama seems all that much more. As each week elapses, I'm amazed at his honesty, candor, guts and desire to take the helm.

I now look to Tuesday, November 4th. And I keep replaying the following line in my head: President elect, Barack Obama. And every time those four words travel across my mind, I get a chill. I can now say without a moment of hesitation that the potential reality of those four words will represent the greatest moment of my life, and there's no question about it. I have never wanted something more, and the mere thought of an Obama presidency evokes tears in my eyes. Set the cliches aside, Barack Obama is absolutely ready to lead this nation, and there's no question about his abilities. This election is a no-brainer. And my passion here has absolutely nothing to do with me, and everything to do with us.

Neil Young Live LP On the Way

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Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968

01 (Emcee Intro)
02 On the Way Home
03 Songwriting Rap
04 Mr. Soul
05 Recording Rap
06 Expecting to Fly
07 The Last Trip to Tulsa
08 Bookstore Rap
09 The Loner
10 "I Used To" Rap
11 Birds"
12 Winterlong (excerpt) / Out of My Mind (Intro)
13 Out of My Mind
14 If I Could Have Her Tonight
15 Classical Gas Rap
16 Sugar Mountain (Intro)
17 Sugar Mountain
18 I've Been Waiting for You
19 Songs Rap
20 Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
21 Tuning Rap / The Old Laughing Lady (Intro)
22 The Old Laughing Lady
23 Broken Arrow

Dont Let It Bring You Down - Neil Young

Wilco : Through the Years (Videos)

Jeff Mangum Joins Elephant 6 Collective in NYC

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Not something you see very often. Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum appeared with the Elephant 6 Collective at the Knitting Factory on 10.11.08.


Albums of Weeks 38-40

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Bob Dylan : Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series, Vol 8
Columbia, 2008


Bonnie "Prince" Billy : The Letting Go
Drag City, 2006


Damien Jurado : Caught in the Trees
Secretly Canadian, 2008

An Hour with Warren Buffett

Haruki Murakami in Berkeley

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I first read Murakami in 2000 or so. My introduction was the mesmerizing and dreamlike The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a novel that carries the reader through a world of reality, imagination, horror and understanding. It's a book that's nearly impossible to encapsulate in a review, due to its unlimited interpretations.

Following this classic, I've gone on to read seven or eight more by Murakami. Following Albert Camus and Richard Russo, he stands among my favorite authors. Where Camus has left an imprint of a lifetime on my view of it all and Russo touched on my sensitivity around small-town life, Murakami opened up my imagination to events as massive as a world war and as mundane as a neighbor's cat roaming an alley. There's nothing Murakami can't explore, and there's nothing that's without meaning.

Last night in Berkeley, Murakami did a short reading followed by a conversation about his writing process, Japan, fiction, non-fiction and responsibility, and his favorite rock bands (Radiohead and Beck, to name a few). He is just as broad in a talk as he is in his novels. He can bring on a laugh, deliver inspiration and point out the individuality in us all, whether real or imagined. He's a brilliant and open mind. And he made us realize that behind it all, the possibilities are endless.

And Barack?

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Who Is John McCain?

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I don't know anymore, but he's starting to remind me of this fella....

bandwagon, vol 2

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hard knocks - big light
a rock n' roll fantasy - the kinks
planets - teenage fanclub
these city lights shine - glossary
sing me back home - the flying burrito brothers
little white cottage - jay bennett & edward burch
strange form of life - bonnie "prince" billy
blind luck - peter case
breeze - apollo sunshine
lost coastlines - okkervil river
chicago promenade - jason isbell
it's a dream - neil young

The Origins of Hip Hop

The Second Debate

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Following the first debate, despite the polls, I did not think that Senator Obama won handily. On the contrary, I actually thought that McCain may have had a slight edge; not on the issues per se, but on the overall feel. I felt as if McCain seemed more on the offensive and more stalwart, two characteristics that a good portion of the American public relate to. I found Obama's command of the issues and nuanced views to be far superior, but something about the overall tenor caused me to think that McCain had done well.

Tonight could have not have been more different. After nearly two years of "critical" debates, tonight was Barack Obama's most impressive performance yet. Not only did he show an unbelievably elastic knowledge of just about every issue covered in every newspaper over the past five years, but his cadence, delivery, thoughtfulness and overall make-up were stunning. This was not a man in training, but rather a man who is ready this very minute to take over the helm.

John McCain, on the other hand, did very little to give us a portrait of what his presidency would be. Once again, he was on the attack. He was condescending to a questioner ("You had probably never heard of Fannie or Freddie") and to his opponent ("that one"). I mean, imagine for one second if Obama pointed at McCain and referred to him as "that one". His campaign would effectively end the moment the second word slipped off his tongue. Why? Because in order for Barack Obama to reach the White House, he essentially has to be perfect. And tonight he was just that. John McCain seemed flustered, agitated and flat-out pissed off that he was even sharing the stage with "that one".

I will never deny that I am biased when it comes to this election or politics in general. But this election just baffles me. I can attribute the possibility of a McCain presidency to one thing: race. If Barack Obama were the same person, but white, I imagine he'd be ahead by 20 points, and barring a major slip, would coast to the presidency. But he's not. And as a result, as much as we'd rather not admit or confront it, he's playing under different rules. But regardless of this, he remains a man of integrity, class, unbelievable intelligence and incredibly impressive leadership. This man is ready. And we're ready for him. We simply can't get this one wrong.

Strom Thurmond or John McCain?

The Gourds "El Paso" (Video)

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The slow-motion clip of Langford cutting through invisible blockers is comedy genius.

playlist: traditional terrain

Springsteen for Obama in Philly

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From Dems Good Beeble to the Jesus of Cool

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The weekend began with a raucous night of music Friday with The Gourds in North Beach. Before a crowd of Oracle suits (private party), I was treated to one of the best Gourds sets in perhaps a decade. They covered most of their catalog, including obscure favorites such as "Up on High" and "When Wine Was Cheap". A two-hour plus double-set reminded me, once again, that music can send a jolt through us that can quickly abridge the trials of the day.

Saturday was a trip to Golden Gate Park to see Gary Louris & Mark Olson, followed by Nick Lowe. The former were good, but this reunion of sorts, still seems to be lacking the honest bond that existed between these two while co-fronting The Jayhawks. Nick Lowe took the stage alone and had the thousands spread over the grass gripped. The set closer, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding", was delivered with such truth and subtle delivery, that I'm certain a few tears were shed. It was the perfect unison of music, poetry and a statement about where we are in this world.

Biden and Palin Debate

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Regardless of your party affiliation, Sarah Palin's spectacle tonight should be universally viewed as the most embarrassing performance in the history of presidential or vice presidential debates. Gwen Ifell threw out softball after softball and not only did Palin deflect each question, but she rambled through nonsensical tangents that nary a human could comprehend. This woman is almost unable to construct a sentence. And for this, John McCain's presidential aspirations should now go down in flames. If Governor Palin were to take over the helm as the leader of the free world, it is unimaginable what could transpire here and abroad.

As far as Biden goes, I viewed his performance as fairly good. He is clearly well versed on just about all issues, but his demeanor can be somewhat off-putting. Is this important to me? Well no, but to many Americans his mannerisms are likely a turn-off. At one moment he seems relaxed, while the next his head appears to be on the verge of imploding.

The biggest failure tonight was PBS's Gwen Ifill. Her questions were so bland and predictable and lacked any nuance that would've given the viewers a more spontaneous look at the candidates. Every word that slid out of Palin's mouth was rehearsed and often completely off-topic, yet Ifill did nothing to challenge her or dig deeper. She accepted her absurd repetition and moved on. Nor did she go after Biden on anything. Ifill's questions were about as difficult and pointed as a church retreat roundtable.

And then the media. I actually heard a number of folks on CNN's post-debate coverage praise Palin. I mean, seriously? I understand that the mainstream media's supposed to be unbiased, but this isn't about democrat vs. republican; it's about a candidate who makes a complete mockery of the importance of government. Our media is responsible for speaking the truth, yet the dolts on CNN seemed at ease with this abomination.

Fortunately, the American public can decide on its own. And if we're truly the greatest nation on the planet, this election should be a cakewalk for the left.