Monday, March 28, 2005

Ann Coulter: Ramble on Easy

On Saturday, I watched a marathon of My Coolest Years, that VH1 show about what comedians and tv personalities were like in high school. I caught the Dirty Hippies episode and guess who was a Deadhead? None other than our favorite sandwich-needing neocon McCarthy loving bitch, Ann Coulter.

She's been to over 60 Grateful Dead shows (which is really nothing compared to *real* Deadheads) and claims that people shouldn't be surprised by this because, "It's the music."

Yeah. The music... and the acid and the tie dye. BOOO YA!

This revelation puts snarky comments about liberal women like this one, from the article that got her dropped like a dead cat from USA Today, into a different light:
As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it's because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council's approval. Plus, it's no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.

Someone is running from her past!

Additionally, there's now a documentary all about Ann: Is It True What They Say About Ann? by Elinor Burkett and Patrick Wright. I hope somewhere they address the question, "Is Ann really as batshit crazy as we think she is?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Visiting Hours are for Friends and Family, not Congress

On the front page of at 9:28am PT, Tuesday, March 22, 2005:

It's the family of Terri Schiavo, who are in denial of the fact that while medicine allows her body to survive mechanically, Terri herself is no longer with them. From this article yesterday:
"I asked her if she was ready to take a little ride, and I told her that we were going to take her for a little trip and take her outside and get her some breakfast, and that got a big smile out of her face, so help me God," Schindler [Terri's father] said.

Despite everything that the doctors have told him, this man truly believes that his daughter responds, thinks, and loves. She doesn't. Let her rest in peace.

What Americans hate even more than change, is watching the government involve itself in intensely personal family issues. "Gay Marriage" and "Abortion" are less personal stories involving one or two people and more blanket issues that have been adopted by the parties as platform points in swaying public opinion. They are buzz phrases, personal experience removed. But the Schiavo case is particularly dangerous for the republicans because it is not some buzz issue whose basis in reality has been diluted by its incorporation into political platforms. It is one family, one woman, and one very personal case. It's as if Congress has now stepped into the rooms of our hospitals, into an intensely personal situation that strikes an emotional chord for Americans like no other event since possibly September 11th. Except this time, most Americans seem certain that this is not an issue in which the government should involve itself. This does not concern them. Their "intervention" is merely political grandstanding and too many people for the GOP's good see it as such.

The only benefits i can see them drawing from this endeavor are: 1) increased fervor from the pro-life side; 2) another charge of "judicial activism" to levy against the judicial branch; and 3) applause from the zealout Christians who would see this "stopping of life" as "playing God" (nevermind the fact that having her life prolonged by feeding tubes and machines could, to the purist, be construed as "playing God" in the first place).

A right-wing conservative group has been lobbying for this intervention for a long time. THIS woman's death should NOT become a political debate.

I'd also like to note that this is just one more example of why we choose our mates but not our family... her husband wants to respect her choice. Her family sits in denial, involving government in a life that no longer exists. It's disgusting. Hopefully it will be stalled in the courts long enough that her body dies before the family has the chance to find one judge who rules to put the tube back in.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Does Madonna like Gefiltefish?

I have a friend/co-worker who adores Madonna and today she sent me an email with this link to a scanned NY Post page asking me to tell her what the "Jewish lettering" (her words) on the $75 t-shirt in the picture meant. I explained that I don't know Hebrew but that I'd try to find out somehow.

The t-shirt in question

Turning to my old friend Google, I did a search for "Madonna hebrew t-shirt." The search returned a few interesting results.

First of all, I found the t-shirt in question on a fan t-shirt website. The Hebrew letters on the front spell out "Madonna." From the shirt description:

Featuring two dramatic portraits of Madonna, this unique garment touches on themes from the Kabbalah, an ancient mystic theology. The front says MADONNA in Hebrew while the back features some of the 72 Names of God, meditation on which is said to have spiritual and healing powers.

I cringed when I read that. It's like she's gone from Material Girl to the faux Jewish equivalent of a Christian rock band (remember DC Talk's Jesus Freak merch from the 90s?) Putting Hebrew on your merch because you've discovered Jewish mysticism and it has changed your life in 2 years? How pure of you to show such great respect for your newly found piety that you would want to slap it on a t-shirt and sell it for $75 at a show where the tickets themselves probably cost between $50 and $100 in the first place!

After solving the mystery of the "Jewish lettering" I looked at another Google result that caught my eye, an article from Fox News. For the first time in history, I think they have a point, which is the same point I was getting to above: she's flaunting her new "religion" but in such a superficial way one can't help but think she's full of shit.

But that led me to another thought... Fox News accuses her of flaunting her religion and incorporating it into her "act." But isn't that exactly what George W. Bush does? Isn't that one of the calling cards of the neoconservative right wing of the United States, their religion? God hates gays, gays can't marry; God hates this, we can't do it; God things this is bad, BAN IT. Bush was a material boy of sorts before finding religion, snorting coke to his heart's content, drinking beer out of kegs in the halls of Yale, yet his "conversion," his "being saved," is considered natural and pure. The Material Girl herself, however, is just a phony. Maybe if she'd picked Christianity instead...

In my world, hey, it's cool if you have God in your life, just keep it out of my face. Enjoy it for yourself, but don't impose it on me, and don't flaunt it. Don't put Kabbalah mysticism on t-shirts and don't tell me that God wouldn't like what I think.

And Madonna, seriously... get that shit off of your merch, you look like an idiot.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

My Favorite Online Radio Stations

Someone at the blog I post to with a group of friends posted this link today from the SF Chronicle online ( It's basically about radio stations that don't suck. I posted the same thing there that I'm about to post here, but I think it's deserving of being posted here. Besides, I have to try and use this blog more often now that I took the time to make it look nice.

From that Chronicle link, I highly recommend KEXP, WOXY, and one show on Indie 103.1. The show is Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and it's Monday - Friday from noon until 2 (if I remember correctly). It's great... blocks of the Clash, Iggy & the Stooges, the Cure, even the occasional MC5 track.

I used to listen to Indie 103.1 daily but then I realized they played basically the same songs in the afternoon that they played in the morning and I stopped listening. They also played this song I hate ALL the time... "Run" by Snow Patrol. I couldn't take it anymore. It's only "indie" to a degree because most of the stuff they play is in that sort of weird indie-on-the-cusp-of-mainstream category. And a lot of that stuff is honestly garbage. Snow Patrol, for instance. I hate them. And as the article mentions, Indie 103.1 is in the clutches of Clear Channel.

WOXY is pretty good too, although I was only introduced to it recently. I don't listen that much but when I do there's not much to complain about. It's more "indie" than Indie 103.1, but not nearly as well-versed in the obscure as KEXP. Their artist database is kinda weak, to be honest. They do, however, play a wider variety of genres than KEXP on an ordinary work day (for instance, right now on their recently played queue is a Buzzcocks song). One of the nicest things I've found is that if you play the station through iTunes, it will show you the name of the track currently being played. With KEXP you have to go to their website and keep the playlist page open to see the titles and artists. Also, someone else has pointed out there there is significantly less chatter on WOXY than KEXP.

KEXP is really awesome because it's listener supported and when you email a request they actually play it. It's in my opinion the best independent radio station that exists (bold claim, I know). They are always on top of the new stuff coming out yet still play the indie oldies that I remember from the days when I got the Matador Records catalog in the mail. They also have a very cool variety of shows (during the day it's basically all indie pop/rock but at night and on the weekends they play all kinds of other stuff... browse their streaming archive to get an idea) KEXP is by far my favorite radio station to stream at work. I listen to it a lot. The only thing that sucks is when they play crappy socially conscious hip hop.

Also, as a sidenote, that article is a good find, O Anonymous Poster, but the guy who wrote that piece sounds like a total tool. I mean...
This, then, is merely an overview, a sampler platter, a big sloppywet hint of the joy that awaits you once you turn away from the J.Lo/50 Cent/Kid Rock dark side and click back into the groove of what true radio was, should be and perhaps, if all stars align and the corporate choke hold is somehow loosened and the current draconian self-righteous agenda of the FCC dies a flaming white-hot death, will be again.

I guess he missed that lesson in journalism class where they warn against using clichés. CLICHÉ OVERLOAD! Yeesh! Does he even know what he's trying to say?

Friday, March 04, 2005

First attempt at music writing: the blurbs

The following three blurbs appeared in the Noise Pop program, along with the feature I did on The Walkmen.

Micah P. Hinson

Texas-via-Memphis singer/songwriter Micah P. Hinson is known for world-weary tales you’d never expect from someone who’s only 22, but the sordid experiences he writes about are all genuinely his own. Hinson’s import-only debut full-length, Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress (Sketchbook), which was created with the help of The Earlies, combines his bittersweet lyrics and raspy, haunting voice with crisp, melancholy guitar that’s reminiscent of ‘60s folk. JESS HEMERLY

Howie Statland

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg may have taken the smoking out of NYC bars, but Lower East Side band New York City Smoke remain. Much like The Who, the band that continues to influence NYCSmoke, the gritty outfit’s frontman, Howie Statland, has done more during his career than simply release albums and play shows. Statland has been tending to a burning passion for music since the age of 8, when he started his formal music training on piano. A former member of Thin Lizard Dawn, he’s collarboarted with avant-garde composer Phillip Glass and written scores for independent films, most notably Low Flame—written by Statland himself—and NYCAria. NYCSmoke recently issued their self-released second full-length, Hearts & Stones. JESS HEMERLY


Richard Nixon and Gavin McInnes—the man behind the Vice media empire—have more in common than conservative political views: they’re both responsible for prolonging an endeavor with the name Vietnam. Fortunately it didn’t take the assassination of a president to keep Vice Records band Vietnam going, just three guys with a zealous dedication to invading and pacifying the American rock scene. The native Texans, armed with powerful guitars, heartfelt lyrics and bluesy rhythms, are currently supporting their debut EP, The Concrete’s Always Greener on the Other Side of the Street. JESS HEMERLY

Obviously the Vietnam blurb is my favorite because it's so ridiculous.


That's right, those godforsaken dots are gone and I even learned a little about CSS in the process.

Hopefully this will encourage me to use this blog more often.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My first attempts at music writing

I did a feature and a few blurbs for the program for Noise Pop, a weeklong smattering of indie music shows across San Francisco. I email interviewed one of my favorite bands of today, The Walkmen, and wrote the feature for the program. You will find it below.

A Fire Inside

Following the breakup of underground favorites Jonathan Fire*Eater, organist Walter Martin, drummer Matt Barrick and guitarist Paul Maroon teamed up with singer/guitarist Hamilton Leithauser (Martin’s cousin) and bassist Peter Bauer---who had been playing together as The Recoys---to form The Walkmen. Though the New York outfit has only been together since 1999, the guys have known each other since childhood. Leithauser met Barrick at summer camp back in fourth grade; he met Bauer in a DC park in ninth grade; and he was introduced to Maroon in high school when Maroon became the new guitarist in Martin’s band.

"I called Walt on the phone when I realized that [The Recoys] weren’t gonna survive," explains Leithauser. "I said, ‘Your singer is wack. I can do a better job.’ He bought it, and a few months later we were in what became our studio, trying to get the ball rolling.

"This is what we have always wanted to do," continues Leithauser. "We’ve all been in bands since middle school, so we all knew that no one was going to out and out quit."

Armed with the remainder of their DreamWorks funding and backing from hopeful investors, the former Fire*Eaters bought a 600-foot space in what was once a Nash Rambler car factory in Harlem and converted it into Marcata Recording, which has been used by everyone from French Kicks to The Kills to, of course, The Walkmen.

"A lot of Harlem is really great," says Leithauser. "If you go north or south of Marcata you can find these fantastic old houses that are mainly on run-down, out of the way streets. It’s right where Royal Tenenbaums was filmed."

As evidenced on both of their full-lengths, 2002’s Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone and last year’s Bows + Arrows (Record Collection), The Walkmen vary their emphasis on guitar, drums and keys to create a sound that continues to move away from their previous bands’ garagey tendencies. While they’re often compared to early U2, their influences range from The Velvet Underground to Fugazi and The Make-Up. The Walkmen’s sonic diversity was driven home by the first single off of Bows + Arrows, "The Rat," which is markedly different than the rest of the album.

"We try to keep our stuff as varied as possible," says Leithauser, "because inevitably it always ends up sounding like us."

In addition to a recent appearance on The O.C., the band has been in Marcata working on its next album.

"We have a bunch of groovy songs that are just gonna knock your socks off," promises Leithauser. "I hope it’s very different from the last one, but we’ll have to wait and see."

Leithauser says The Walkmen are looking forward to closing Noise Pop this year and enjoying everything that the Bay Area has to offer.

"San Francisco’s one of the only places," he says, "along with Chicago and Miami, that I could see myself living outside of New York." JESS HEMERLY

The Walkmen headline Bimbo’s 365 Club on Sunday, February 27th.

I don't have the edited copies of the blurbs on hand... I'll retype and post them later. But the point is, that after a very long creative dry spell that had less to do with my ability to write and more to do with the lack of clarity caused by drama drama drama, seeing SOMETHING I've written in print again lit the fire. It's like waking up from a coma.