Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Faith is loud

While on vacation one of our housemates was accosted by some one who decided to share his faith in Christianity with her. He would not stop until she had to say "Leave me the fuck alone". This on top of the Kansas "minister" that has been protesting at funerals of homesexual Iraq War dead and I just wonder why these people can't just keep to themselves?

Why is their opinion so important?

Anyway - I'm having a hard time getting back in the blogging groove since I've returned. I'll get back to normal soon enough.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm back

Recap of my vacation, Amazing Race Style:

1 Engagement
3 TV Finales (Desperate Housewives, 24, and Lost - comments to come)
6 States
12 Hardees
537 Songs played on my iPod
800 Miles

I'm back to Conshohocken with still a 3 day weekend to go.

The best things I saw on my vacation:

Proof I was in the South

Finally saw some wild horses

Monday, May 22, 2006

What happened on my vacation...

Nothing eventful. Oh yeah - I proposed to Kristen on Friday night, and she said yes (on a trial basis) ;)

Had this brilliant plan to replace Kristen's menu with a menu I had written up. It was personalized and brilliant. The only problem is - she didn't read the menu - kind of just skimmed it. So I'm sitting realizing "wow, I'm going to have ask her." Which I did in ham-handed way, but it worked. We were also sitting at half-moon tables, so getting down on one knee was out of the question (thank god).

Then we went to see a filming of "Decades in Rock" - Elvis Costello with Fiona Apple, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Death Cab for Cutie. Great show that almost brought me to tears when Elvis did Fiona's song I Know. Maybe the single best performance that I've seen.

We then headed from AC to Duck, North Carolina for the week (so maybe not a whole lot of updates this week).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Those damn hippies!

The end of Amazing Race 9 wasn't as tense as the Amazing Race 7 end but it was still entertaining. My prediction of the frat boys was off but the hippies deserved to win - I love the brain teasing end rewarding brains over brawn.

I would love CBS to do an Amazing Race reunion after every season end - the same way Survivor does.

Still too many finales to go.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thom Yorke solo CD coming

Looks like Thom Yorke of Radiohead will be releasing a solo cd. Also sounds like it will be like Kid A/Amnesiac. And no - they're not breaking up.

The following message was sent to the Radiohead fan list...

this is just a note to say that something has been kicking around in the background that i have not told you about.
its called The Eraser.
nigel produced & arranged it .
i wrote and played it.
the elements have been kicking round now for a few years and needed to be finished & i have been itching to do something like this for ages.
it was fun and quick to do.
inevitably it is more beats & electronics.
but its songs.
stanley did the cover.
yes its a record!
no its not a radiohead record.
as you know the band are now touring and writing new stuff and getting to a good space so i want no crap about me being a traitor or whatever splitting up blah blah...
this was all done with their blessing. and i don't wanna hear that word solo. doesnt sound right.
ok then thats that.

i think its out in july and im pretty certain XL are going to put it out.

love thom
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Amazing Race - Coming in for a landing

The season finales are dwindling to a few including tomorrow night's Amazing Race two hour end. I have to say if any of the three win, I'll be fine with it. This year's big bad MoJo was vanquished last week. No more crying ("this is the hardest thing I've ever done"). No more bitching (yields are unfair). No more seeing Monica bounce I mean run - damn it! Just the frats pretending they're not gay. The hippies following and begging. And Ray and Yolanda (no nickname) being ignored as a threat.

My prediction: I'm not feeling the hippie love, although I'd like to see them win - they make crucial mistakes. Ray and Yolanda - maybe but I'm going with the frats - then they can come out of the closet as they star in the next season of Queer Eye.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Random thoughts

One post - many topics...

Hillary Rodham Clinton apologizes to Chelsea
This past weekend Senator Clinton apologized to her daughter Chelsea because she implied that she doesn't work hard. What Clinton said was "young people have a sense of entitlement after growing up in a "culture that has a premium on instant gratification." She also said that young people today "think work is a four-letter word". Chelsea called the Senator upset, saying "Mom, I do work hard and my friends work hard,'" - and then the 26-year old returned to her six-figure salary job. Seems like Ms. Clinton might have taken this a little too personal?

To be serious - what Senator Clinton needs to realize is that there isn't an aversion to work - but an aversion to what the government and specifically corporate america has to offer. I'm sort of in between at 37 years old - but I count the friends that are happy with their job on one hand, And what might appear as an aversion to work might be better characterized as apathy and disenchantment. Someone send her a copy of Office Space.

Walking the streets of Philly
Walking to work from the train station this morning, my path was blocked by a SEPTA construction vehicle that decided at the last minute that it wasn't a good idea to run a red light. The city of Philadelphia is installing traffic cameras, talking about getting countdown pedestrian signs, but when it comes to the simple pedestrian laws - there's no one enforcing them. Crosswalks are where cars wait for the light to change. It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured. And in a city that is grappling with homicides, no one cares.

Gun violence in Philadelphia
In today's Inquirer columnist Nate House wondered where is the outrage with all the young people being killed by gun violence in this city. As of May 8, 127 people have been murdered in Philadelphia - and while this rate is down, I bet that people that live in North Philadelphia feel more threatened than ever. Let me tell Mr. House why there is no outrage - the people that are being killed are predominantly young black males and the majority of those in this state still believe blacks are worth a fraction their lives. The rulers in this state simply don't care. They see this as a city problem, a democrat problem which means it's a black problem - and they will get no heat from their backwater constituents to do anything to save the lives of the children who die every day on our streets. Want to know when there will be outrage - when some young, pretty blonde girl is killed. Then all of a sudden, there will be a problem with guns.

Libya is off the known terrorist list - but Cuba...
No greater example of political pandering than this. Libya has a history of terrorist attacks while Cuba not so much. Yet Cuba is still persona non-grata to the U.S. government. There is no reason for this. Our embargo keeps poor Cubans poorer. The only reason we continue to view Cuba this way is because of the political clout Cubans wield in Florida. Otherwise we deal with countries that are far greater threats than Cuba ever was.

Lighter stuff
Saturday night ESPN spent the first 10 minutes of Baseball Tonight talking about the the Giants/Dodgers game and the fact that Barry Bonds didn't hit home run 714. I am tired of this pre-occupation with Bonds. The media has spent so much time villifiying Bonds for damaging the sport, but yet is so fascinated with the story they are ignoring the rest of the league to cover.

West Wing ended last night and ended well. Loved the fact that even until last night, the show was written as if there was a tomorrow.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

RIP - Grant W. McLennan (Freaky iPod)

Howard does a little series called Freaky iPod and this one is pretty freaky. Yesterday I found out that Go-Betweens lead singer Grant W. McLennan died in his sleep earlier this week at age 48 (too young and too reminiscent of Joe Strummer's death).

Anyway today I pick up my car from service and plug my iPod in which is shuffling through all 6,000 songs on the player and the first song it chooses? The Go-Betweens' No Reason to Cry...weird huh?

The iPod has a way of knowing.

RIP Grant....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

David Mead - Tangerine

With hair that rivals Conan O'brien - David Mead has been one of my favorite singer-songwriter's for years. In the Michael Penn vein with his witty lyrics and intricate arrangements. He's doing the indie release thing - you can listen to his next release by clicking the image.

Tangerine will be released May 16 on Tallulah Records.

Pre-order Tangerine Now!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

You can take the Chloe out of 24...

That familiar scowl.

Replace that guitar with a taser.

Could it be?

It could only be - yes it is - Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24 was slumming it up on Gilmore Girls last night. (I didn't actually watch so I can't tell you what she did other than sing and strum a guitar).

Maybe Kristen might?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Norelco Bodygroom Website

The Norelco Shave Everywhere website wins the award for balls/ass marketing (pun intended).

Click around.

As a marketer there is a ton of envy as I would have LOVED to have pitched this one.

One more West Wing for the road

This coming Sunday NBC will show the final episode of West Wing and while it has received it's share of criticism recently, I will miss it. Very rarely do shows get to the end of their run telling strong stories and leaving viewers wanting more. West Wing has done that this year. Don't let the sad Nielsen numbers tell the story, those have more to do with a series losing it's way in a couple of seasons (and therefore losing fans) than how the show has finished this year.

The Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) campaign gave the writers fresh story lines and new characters and just a little shot of adrenalin; all desperately needed. Recent episodes have been excellent, wrapping up the show without making the proceedings seem like a final roll call. This past Sunday's episode did a great job bringing Toby and CJ back to the front without a rush to end. I know it's the end, but the writers are doing a great job of writing as if there will be a next season.

As I said - very rarely is a show's end unwarranted or untimely. The X-Files was a shell of itself, stumbling through it's final seasons. When people compare the current version of ER to Grey's Anatomy it makes me cringe because I remember how great ER once was. Hell, shows like Desperate Housewives and The O.C. are already having creative struggles. ABC's Commander in Chief sunk by mid-season.

So with all this, I want to thank The West Wing for not providing me with a season's worth of bad taste and "what ifs" to close things out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Favorite Music of 2006

I've been lax in my music comments so here are the things I've been listening to the last few months. (Again - not all of it's from 2006). I'll try and jazz this up with some images at some point but I've been writing it for two weeks waiting to get to that.

(I've recommended my favorite songs on each)

The Emusic Section

Film School - Film School (emusic) - One of my favorite cds of this year (too bad their instruments were stolen here in Philly). (4 out 5 stars)
  • On and On
  • Pitfalls
  • He's a Deep Deep Lake
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Streetcore (2003) - How could I miss this one? Actually I didn't, but had it and never listened to it. It's sad to listen to because it's so good and Strummer passed away with too much music left in him. (4 stars)

  • Arms Aloft
  • All in a Day
  • Coma Girl
The National - Alligator ( 2005) (3 Stars)
  • Secret Meeting
  • All the Wine
The Wedding Present - Take Fountain (2005) (3 stars)
  • Interstate 5
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear is on our side (3 stars)
  • Long Walk
  • We Choose Faces
  • According to the Plan

The others...

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah (2005) - (4 stars)
  • Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
  • The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth
  • Is This Home On Ice
Morrissey - Ringleaders of the Tormentors (4 stars)
  • The Youngest Was the Most Loved
  • In the Future When All's Well
  • I Just Want to See the Boy Happy
Loose Fur - Born Again in the USA - (3.5 stars)
  • Hey Chicken
  • Pretty Sparks
Josh Ritter - The Animal Years (3.5 stars)
  • Girl in War
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl (2005) (3 stars)
  • Weight of the World
  • Steal a Ride
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat (3 stars)
  • Rise Up With Fists!!
  • Handle With Care
My Morning Jacket - Z (2005) (3 stars)
  • Gideon

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A friend becomes an published author

A good friend and former co-worker of mine just published a book called "Sick With Love". Michael Abdul-Qawi is a recent graduate of Temple University's School of Communication and Theater.

It is so cool to see someone do what they love without being convinced or believing that they can't.

I'm learning a lesson from someone 16 years my junior.

Moussaoui verdict - my thoughts

I've avoided saying anything about this trial for the length and now that we have a verdict, no time better than now.

There are many people that hate the U.S. and in their own way have supported terrorism against the U.S. Zacarias Moussaoui hated us, our government, our way of life, everything American. He may have participated in the 9/11 plot, but it seems the evidence to support that was thin.

Alexander Santora's position shifted the other way. His son Christopher was a firefighter who died in New York on Sept. 11. Santora said he originally wanted Moussaoui sentenced to life imprisonment, but changed his mind when he heard the al-Qaida conspirator testify, showing no remorse.

Santora called Moussaoui "guilty as sin. A bullet in his brain would have been a just reward."

Moussaoui was convicted because we hate what he represents and that he showed no remorse. In that sense, he was always guilty and therefore this trial was simply a formality.

I for one have little respect for our legal system because it puts a premium on retribution at the cost of true justice. I hate this man as much as the next - but my hate doesn't mean guilt. The rules of evidence decide that. And in our country those rules are ignored to fit the desire of the people.

What good are principles so easily abandoned?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Michael Penn Group - Last.FM

To explain the Michael Penn group I just created on - I need to explain is an online music community that provides streaming music based on what you listen. You download a piece of software that works with your music player (iTunes, Windows Media, even Linux players) that will then recommend music to you based on your listening habits, compile listening stats, and best of all create your own personal radio station. You can also listen to stations that are based on artists, fans of those artists, genres, etc.

You can also join groups, one of which I created for Michael Penn fans. There currently is a Michael Penn radio station there - but it's only based on 4 members. Join up, it's really addicting and it's radio that doesn't suck.

Michael Penn Group on