Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I won't be posting to this site anymore. I've moved the kit (and some of the caboodle) to a brand new location. You can get to it by CLICKING HERE.
I hope you'll fix your bookmarks -- http://thestickingpoint.com/ -- and follow me there. I promise more of the same top-quality narcisstic bullshit you've come to expect from The Sticking Point, plus 15% more nudity.
Ich möchte den Herrn küssen, der leotards erfand.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Listening: "Kalte Sterne" - Einsturzende Neubauten. (All right, the disk has been playing non-stop for five hours.)
Your age is the hardest age; Everything drags and drags. I dig this. This girl is 16 years old?! Really? No, really. Great looking weblog; my favorite line: "Save a few, most of the underclassmen are absolute douchebags."
How much is that baby in the window? Got my first weird adoption-related question today. "Do you have to pay for the baby?"
It didn't bother me too much. I was in the middle of discussing the adoption process, and where we are in it, with a co-worker who is sincerely happy about our news. In fact, midway through the sentence, she paused, seemingly to evaluate the sensitivity of such a question. It came out like, "Do you have to...uh...pay?...for the baby?" (Yes, "pay" had its own question mark.) I think it's a legit query from someone who knows little about the process. The phrasing is weird. Howev.
And the short answer is no.
The long answer is...I am paying, but I'm not paying for the baby. It's not like paying at a cash register at J & R Computer World, then bringing your invoice downstairs to Pickup Window 3. (Though I wish it was.) I am paying for services provided by two governments and my adoption agency.
(Note to people who say, "Oh, you're probably tired of talking about it": I'm not. At all. It is about my favorite thing to discuss, and if I've told you even a little bit, I want to tell you all of it. In fact, if we talk about just one thing, let's make it: how adoption is growing my family. Then sit down and give me two hours.)
Listening: "Aufrecht gehen" - Einsturzende Neubauten.
A dispatch from the front. MicKen caught Monster Magnet at Bowery Ballroom this past weekend. Here's his Monday Morning Magnet Report (reproduced without permission):
I have never witnessed a band so successfully straddle the line between tongue-in-cheek inside humor and blistering, hard and heavy rock. MAN! These guys are pros. A full-on assault from the get go. Great front man, GREAT presentation of the songs, and an all-around great show. These guys should give lessons. The lead singer has Danzig-like charisma and the whole place sang most of the songs. What I liked most about this band and this show was how utterly UNcool all of this was. The audience were black t-shirted, tattooed guys and gals from all over the tri-state area. The band is from Red Bank New Jersey.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Listening: "Green Eyes" - Husker Du.
Face Off. We're going to need some serious time-killing diversions in Seoul, and this place seems as cool as any.
My lips are moving and the sound's coming out. Watching the Yankees/BoSox game on YES. Jim Kaat just said, "This is when Manny [Ramirez] is most dangerous...oh-and-two. He's a GREAT two-strike hitter." Really, Kitty? His "most dangerous"? So, Mussina's game plan should be: don't throw strikes to Manny. And for fuck's sake, don't get ahead in the count.
It irks me when announcers try so hard to make some trivial point that they don't have a clue what they're saying.
Gone away, gone away/Moving away, yeah/Moving away, yeah. At some point in the next three weeks or so, The Sticking Point will be moving here:
(I've bought it and locked it down. There's a parked page there now.)
And also? It'll most likely be hosted by TypePad. (As soon as they get around to answering the two questions I emailed their "help desk." 1. Can I compose on BOTH Windows 2000 AND Apple Panther? [This is the main reason I'm leaving Blogger; I can't tolerate the constantly changing compose tools.] 2. Can I move my existing site easily?)
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Listening: “Fuer den Untergang” – Einsturzende Neubauten.
I just watched Nine Innings From Ground Zero. And there it is, the conflux of two emotionally charged topics for me: nine-eleven and baseball. Nearly from beginning to end, I was choked up, sniffling, with hot tears rolling down my cheeks. (Even the dog lifted his head to check on me at least once.) It happens every time I see those buildings come down: on TV, in nightmares, in daydreams. That day in general and those moments in particular are so fresh and so raw in my memory. I could touch them. I can smell them. I’m still standing there, on the roof-deck of our Clinton Street apartment, watching people jump out of the buildings, watching the first tower go down while paperwork and personal effects from WTC offices rain down onto the deck around me. I can still hear the sound of my voice, leaving a frantic message on my wife's office answering machine. I was angry and scared shitless. I have never since heard THAT voice come from my throat: high-pitched and quivering.
And baseball has always had the power to make me well up. The beauty of the game and the way it made everything “perfect” for me when I was struggling with childhood demons and fears has turned it into both narcotic and religion for me. I owe my sanity to baseball.
I’m listening to Tin Machine's second album. Critics ripped this one apart. I like it OK. There’s some typically sharp guitar from Reeves Gabrels and good Bowie vocals. The songs are probably a little too subtle to have been well-received when this came out in 1991.
My wife's in New Jersey for a D***** C****** shoot again. I’ve got some coffee and in a few minutes I’m going to start a Robert Greenwald documentary I DVRed, called Uncovered: The Whole Truth. After that, I’m going to a movie. (The noon showing of Garden State at the little theater on Henry Street.)
Weird dreams last night. In one of them, we were at work and all of these people came floating by the windows. They were each sitting in one of those little “cars” like you’d see at an amusement park, those teacup-shaped cars that are usually attached to cable and take you from one side of the park to the other. Except in the dream they were floating up to the windows of our building. I ran to the office where my wife was, to show this all to her. We watched the person inside each car press a little handmade sign against the glass. The signs were all anti-Bush statements. I went to the lobby to get a closer look at the people and where they were landing. Many of them were being rounded up and arrested. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a woman cop approaching me. She took out her gun and told me not to move. I told her “I work here,” but she was already putting handcuffs on me to sort things out at the police station. I started yelling for my wife. When she came over to us, the cop asked who she was and I got arrogant as I told her, “This is my wife, she also works here.” The cop told me I’d have to spend most of the night in jail until someone got bail for me. Thinking about how my wife was going on location for work, I figured I’d have to rely on MicKen to bail me out in the morning. I wondered how he was going to raise the money for bail, would he have to put up collateral like his bike or his apartment (which he doesn’t own), and how does anybody ever raise money in this situation? Then I thought about the call I’d have to make to him and how I was going to imitate Was Not Was when I said, “Hello, MicKen? I’m in jail. I’m in jail. Jail jail jail…!”
In another dream, I was involved in a draft for a Fantasy Media League. My first pick was “Opening Weekend Box Office.” I wondered how anybody was going to beat me. So many movies opened every week, and I was going to get points for all of them.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Listening: "Jenny You're Barely Alive" by Rilo Kiley (live in Philly 07.25.03)
When Writers Attack. Sports-scribe Rob Neyer doesn't like book. Writes negative review on Amazon. Tropical Shitstorm Kettmann ensues. Here's Neyer's fascinating account.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
What's the story with that guy, that poor-man's Godfrey in the orange shirt on the Time Warner Cable DVR commercial? The one who wants to watch "games," while someone else in the house wants to watch "cartooooons."
I think he's delusional. And I think he lives alone.
Johnny Ramone 1948-2004
Stage right belonged to Johnny. You'd see the Ramones, you'd see Johnny there, his right hand a blur on that light-blue Mosrite. One hundred twenty shows a year for three decades.
I don't even have to explain how important the Ramones music is. It is the chassis for everything that's ever been called "indie," "punk," or "alternative."
I only met Johnny one time. It was right after Dee Dee left the band and they were auditioning for a replacement, it was the fall of 1989. My tattoo guy (and husband-of-a-cousin) Cuda got himself a tryout and asked me to take him to S.I.R. on 25th Street, where he'd get his shot at the band. Cuda was the first bassist of the day, and we got there early. Joey came in, all angular and gawky, sipping a bottle of water as he ducked into the studio. Next, Marky rolled up, pushing his bicycle into a corner of the lobby. We waited another 15 minutes for Johnny before we realized he'd been in the studio the whole time. Johnny showed up early and ready for work.
(Cuda didn't get the gig, obviously, but man - what a blast - going in there and hammering out 4 or 5 Ramones songs with them. Are you kidding me?!)
In 2001, my payoff for writing the VMA Video Vanguard tribute to those jackholes in U2 came a few minutes later, when Boner paid homage to the Ramones. It was cool to see them onstage, however brief that was.
As the band was on its farewell tour, and each member was planning his next step, I always like Johnny's answer to the questions about what he'd do next, or whether he'd record again. No, he said, he was going to sit in his L.A. house and watch baseball games on his satellite dish. (And he stuck to his plan. Shortly after their last tour, he sold all his guitars and amps.)
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The fight song. I was just listening to Manson's "Fight Song." (Lyric: I'm not a slave to a god that doesn't exist.) The co-worker in the office across the hall, steps into my office. That's where we'll pick up the action...
She: Are you trying to give me a slow painful death?
She: Are you trying to give me a slow painful death? I mean, [pointing to my CD player] I'm trying to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
Me: Well, if the death is slow and painful, I guess it took you too long to say something to me.
* * * * *
Something for your earholes. I've been meaning to write about the new earphones I recently got for the iPod. I was looking for something that sounded good, fit well, and wasn't a flimsy piece of crap. (Three categories in which the Apple iPod Earbuds fail horribly. You wouldn't even hear a bottom response in those things if someone boxed your ears while you were listening to Morphine's The Night.)
I Googled around, read a bunch of reviews and bought EM3s from Future Sonics. I'm liking them. They took some getting used to, because the custom foam fit requires theses things go way deep in your ear. That means that you cannot hear anything but the music and your own breathing. Even when your between tracks, all you hear are the sounds resonating inside your skull. (This is pretty wild.) When I'm on the subway, 40% volume is sufficient. (Compared with about 95% on the Apple 'buds.)
The bass response is unreal, and the spatial separation [P-Mint will tell me if I'm using the proper term there], is true. Instruments stay where they were in the studio.
These are admittedly more expensive than nearly every choice on the market, and they are ugly as hell (they are made for pro use, moreso than for consumers, so they come in a color that might be described as "Beyonce"), but they'll sound better -- and last longer -- than whatever else you might plug into.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Listening: "Lick The Moon" - Kingface.
I just emailed my pals Walein and Jake: NEED to borrow and burn sam cooke’s night beat CD. either of you have?
I do this kind of shit all the time, and I always have. One night, while I was in high school, before the so-called internet or 24-hour record stores, I called a classmate I hardly knew at about 10:30 one night to ask if he had any Dickies albums. I just needed to hear "Walk Like An Egg." The kid thought I was nuts. And I was. And I still am. The thing is, when I get a song in my head, I need to hear it right away. It's the pain of being a music fan with A.D.D. and compulsive tendencies. I just won’t relax until I hear whatever it was I was thinking of. Today, I need to hear Cooke's recording of "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen."
I hope my pals don’t hate being pawns to my listening whims. Or maybe, at the very least, they won't mind a partial glimpse into my musical preferences at any given moment.
If you're reading this and wouldn't mind me IM-ing you at midnight to beg you to email me an MP3 of Fang's "The Money Will Roll Right In," or something like that, please let me know.
Listening: "Stop Your Crying" - Bob Mould (live in Santa Monica, 5.17.91)
Listening: "Chinese Rocks" - Heartbreakers (Live at Max's)
The calendar is my madeleine. Don't know why I know this but I do. It's something I always remember. On this date in 1984, I saw the Alarm at Pier 84 in Manhattan.
It wasn't a night any more memorable than others, but it sticks out in my mind. Maybe it's because, even all these years later, I still have a t-shirt from the show tucked away somewhere. One of those great concert shirts - old school, with printing on both sides, and the date and location of that night's show silk-screened on. Money was spent (and gambled) making concert shirts back then. (What would the company do with 1000 surplus shirts from an outdated show, in that pre-eBay age?) I must have spent a whopping $8.00 on it, myself. (Tickets for shows at the Pier ran 10-15 dollars, depending on the popularity of the act, and were sold through Ticketron.)
I used to go to a lot of shows at the Pier in the early 80s. I saw the Ramones, David Johansen, Adam and the Ants, The Clash, U2, Joan Jett, Squeeze, and about twenty other headlining bands there, plus some great opening acts (Kraut, Konk, Urban Blight).
Anyway, the Alarm were on fire that night. Planet Neil and I brought a friend of ours from high school, this guy Tom, who wanted to experience some of the "weird" music (his word) that Neil and I were into. (His first shock was that the Alarm wasn't weird at all, his second was that he left the show a huge fan.) The band did at least two non-LP songs that night: Woody Guthrie's "Bound For Glory," which was the first time I'd ever heard that song (my bad), and "Bells of Rhymney."
I met a girl there named Lori (a.k.a. Jaden Blade, a.k.a. Lory London), who took us to the MTV Vido Music Awards afterparty (that was the first one ever, and it was hosted by Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler - really. That was also the year that Madonna rolled around in a wedding dress - so don't ever believe me when I'm drunk and I tell you that I saw that live on TV. I didn't. I was at Pier 84). Then, Lori offered to take us over to the Mayflower Hotel, where the Alarm was staying, to see if we could join their party. Planet Neil and I passed on that one.
...it was twenty years ago today.
Lori and I stayed friends. She was a total Anglophile. (Four months later she was my date for a New Year's Eve party, until she called me at 1600 hrs. on December 31st to tell me that she was going to the MTV New Year's Ball with the drummer from Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Or Nasher Nash, or whichever one of those guys was straight.) In June '85, when I left for a trip to London, she begged me to bring her back her favorite British soap. (Damn, I can't remember what it was called. It began with "F." Was it called "Fa"? Whatever, I brought home about 20 bars.)
I dig the new Rilo Kiley CD alot. It's not as instantly striking as The Execution of All Things, but this one is so densely packed with great ideas and arrangements that it's likely to still be offering fresh spins in two or three years. Plus, that moment in "Portions For Foxes" where Lewis growls "C'mere!" makes me feel all goofy-in-love inside.
Listening: "After All The Roads Have Lead To Nowhere" - Sugar (live in Minneapolis, 11.02.94).
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Just a quickie. De-publican Zell Miller was adamant that the Democratic party dare not field a candidate. Doing so, he seemed to hint, is an unpatriotic attack on the President and America.
This Slate article, by William Saletan, is one of the best I've read this year.
Been around the world toni-i-ight. (Computer watch, Pt. I.) On Wednesday, we ordered a hot-snot new notebook computer. (Or "laptop." Which is current parlance and which is old school?) We chose an Apple iBook 14" model, with 1 GHZ processor, 756 MB DDR, a 60 GB hard drive, and an Airport Extreme card. (We also ordered a new printer and an Airport base unit. Those have already been delivered.)
Now the big gun is on its way. Here's the latest:
9/03 - 4:13pm: Arrived at FedEx ramp; Ta Yuan Hsiang, TW
- 5:33pm: Left FedEx origin location; Taoyuan City, TW
9/04 - 7:55pm: Left FedEx ramp; C.K.S. Intern'l Airport, TW
It left the ramp! It left the ramp!
Friday, September 03, 2004
The Circuit Court of Craighead County has accepted the appeal order for DNA testing. This is the evidence that might finally produce a legitimate suspect and free the three young men in prison.
The Court states the prosecution allows that the evidence (which includes scrapings from under the fingernails of each of the victims) has the "scientific potential to produce new concumulative evidence which may be materially relevant to the defendants'/petitioners' assertions of actual innocence."
She's no Wolf Blitzer, but... In related news, Margaret Cho's blog features video of her interview with Grove, Kathy, and Burk, the braintrust behind WM3.org.
It's like that...and that's the way it is.
Alex Belth says:
I don't mean to lecture, but for those who don't know,there is a little bit of history behind the pose Duque struck called a "b-boy stance." During the early days of hip hop, in the mid 1970s, the djs ran the show, not the rappers. Rappers didn't even really exist yet. The graffitti writers and the djs were king, and then came the dancers; rappers didn't come til later.
The essence of hip hop is the break, which is the portion of a record where generally all of the instruments drop out and the only thing you hear is a drum fill. The early dj's would take a break and by using two turntables and mixer, extend the break for 2, 3, 4 or even 5 minutes. The reason behind this was that the crowd seemed to go wild during the break. When the break came on it gave everyone the liberty to do their own thing -- the rappers would rhyme, and the b-boys, or "break boys" would dance. It is the heart of hip hip.
Before the break would hit--and eventually be extended -- the b-boys would stand off to the side in what became known as the "b-boy stance." Later, when they would have break-dancing contests, if two guys were going at it one-on-one, one kid would be in the b-boy stance while the other did his routine. Often, you'd end your routine in the b-boy stance. It served as an exclamation, a finishing point. Which is what El Duque did last night as a reaction to Crisp, when Coco turned around and walked back to the dugout.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
...here on Varitek's Isle. While I'm up here with Mrs. Howell and Ginger, it's great to have Larry Mahnken's site to peruse when I need a (smart) fan's eye view of the Yankee games I'm missing. Here's his report on a pivotal moment in last night's game:
If there was an emotional turning point for me last night, it wasn't Jorge Posada's two-run homer that gave the Yankees the lead, it was Coco Crisp's groundout.
With the Yankees trailing 1-0 in the top of the third, El Duque fell behind Crisp 2-1, and Crisp hit the ball softly up the first base line. Hernandez raced to grab the ball, and then cut Crisp off in the baseline. Crisp faked going outside the line, tried to go inside, all the while leaning around to elude Hernandez's tag. Finally, with his feet firmly planted on either side of the baseline, Hernandez held his arms out on either side of his body, as if to say, "come on". Crisp conceded defeat, turned and walked away -- without ever being tagged, and as he walked back to the dugout, El Duque remained standing in the baseline in front of first, stood up straight, and crossed his arms. He then turned, stepped on the bag, and went back to the mound.
It was just an out -- and El Duque quickly fell behind Omar Vizquel 3-0 -- but as the crowd cheered, the announcers chuckled, and Crisp laughed in the dugout, all the weight from Tuesday was lifted. This was a new game, and if they hadn't figured it out already, El Duque showed the team that all they could do about Tuesday was move on, play baseball, and have fun. From that point on, I was confident that the Yankees would win.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Pets.Com had a good streak going there, too for awhile. 22-0 is a bitter horse pill to swallow. And the Yankees have lost seven games-worth of their lead in the standings. (And, I'm presently sunning on Red Sox National Shoreline, on the southeastern tip of Red Sox Nation.) But, look: In their respective last 15 games, the Yankees are 6-9 and the BoSox are 13-2. It's illogical to think that either team is well represented by its recent performance. Can the Red Sox keep it up?. I mean really keep it up? Around these parts, where you get a "Reverse The Curse" bumpersticker with every order of 12 or more Dunkin' Donuts, they're comparing this squad to the '78 Yankees. Please.
Schilling-Martinez aren't even worthy of comparison to Figueroa-Guidry (who were 45-12, with 28 CG). And which one of those guys wants to be Goose? Keith friggin' Foulke?!
As of today - after one team's bad-to-mediocre stretch and the other's all-out red-hot streak, the Yanks are on a pace to win 100 games; the Sox, 96. The loss last night was brutal, yes, but you could say it was less frustrating than a 1-0 or a 22-21 loss.
The real problem was what I saw (admittedly just from clips on Sportscenter and NESN) from Esteban Loaiza in the 9th inning. Pissed that his rag arm and bad location have gotten him demoted to the bullpen, and (likely) embarrassed that he had to mop up the mess, he was throwing beach balls up to the plate. "Here hit it." It looked like batting practice: 80 m.p.h. cookies - flat and down Broadway. In other words, he gave up on the team.
I was a big fan of Loaiza's, and was thrilled when they got him. But now, I think he should be out of pinstripes faster than you can say "Ed Whitson."
Can Sheffield pitch?
But I'll bet he would.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Listening: the sounds of crickets and oscillating fans
For the love of Frank Messer. RLYW has a really cool read up today. It's a report card for the Yankees' YES Network announcers. You don't gotta agree - I didn't - but it's a fun piece.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Listening: Jonesy's Jukebox (Steve Jones) on www.indie1031.fm
Play, record, and paws. Diggin' The Puppies (lead vocalist Heidi May). Check them out.
"He asked if we were Nazis, and of course we weren't." By chance, I Googled upon a cool interview with Donny Cowan, formerly of Kraut. Kraut's first-ever live show was opening for the Clash at Bonds in 1981. How does something like THAT happen? Read here.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Listening: Sleater-Kinney - "Sympathy"...The Minutemen - "The Product"
Your old lady left you and you went insane / You blew yourself up on the back of the 6 train. It's a sad day. Diablo Cody has announced the retirement of her Pussy Ranch blog. Is that all there is to a fire?
Baby come back / Any kind of fool could see / There was something in
everything about you.
Diablo is a talented young writer. Reading her work, you sense that she starts with a good idea…and then it actually comes out that way on the page. As if the words would just lay down and do her bidding. Here's a sample of her dexterity, an entry from (roughly) one year ago:
When Madonna went in for that calculated lesbian-chic kiss with Brit on MTV last night, I was shocked to see that Britney's tongue is indeed normal, and not grotesque like the lizard baby's tongue in "V."
Seeing Britney and Christina rolling around in their wedding dresses reminded me how much I miss Madonna's early era, when she was still Detroit trash and could make tumbling around in bridal finery look incredibly naughty. It's just not the same when the "brides" are two home-schooled Mickey Mouse bints from Orlando who can't piss without the aid of a choreographer.
I did like watching Avril "Plague of Locusts" Lavigne and Kelly "Failed Record" Osbourne pout at Britney and Christina's antics, though. As much as those two annoy me, I must admit that they remind me of my sour, dejected high school self.