<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d9824315\x26blogName\x3dI+Am+The+Rain+King\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dSILVER\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://jamieca.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://jamieca.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-4791829559169385208', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck's classic Cannery Row was book #16 in my 2005 reading quest. The book has been reviewed a bazillion times, so I'll spare you the redundancy of writing another one here. This was the first Steinbeck book that I've read since I finished Of Mice and Men in high school. Reading Cannery made me realize what I've been missing out on all this time and has definitely sparked my interest in reading more of his works. I'm thinking possibly The Winter of our Discontent or Tortilla Flat next, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

While writing this post, I also found out that you can still visit the real Cannery Row in Monterey, CA. You can even stop by Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey wax museum which features characters from the book.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Conor Oberst in The Onion

You know you've made it when you've been satirized in The Onion:

'Nation Planning Surprise Party to Cheer Up Conor Oberst'

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Yes Men

Mother Jones has an interesting interview in their March issue with the The Yes Men, an interesting political protest duo that's can best be described as some kind of weird amalgamation between Michael Moore's politics and Punk'd.

"Equipped with absurd aliases, cheap suits, and official-looking websites, Andy Bichlbaum (a.k.a. Finisterra) and his co-conspirator, Mike Bonanno, have posed as officials from the World Trade Organization, McDonald's, and even the Bush campaign. Rather than being exposed as frauds, the Yes Men and their crackpot proposals—from recycling human waste into fast food to using global warming as a weapon against the French—are often met with approval from unsuspecting audiences." -- Dave Gilson, Mother Jones

If you want to find out more about these guys, they are already the subject of a documentary film, available on DVD, and a book. If you're really into it, you can join up to be a Yes Man here (not to be confused with the Suck-Up).

More Quotes From Urban

GatorCountry.com has posted a good article on the Gators' recent spring football practices. The article also contains more good quotes from new head coach Urban Meyer:

"Backup quarterback I couldn't tell you who it is. You've got one guy that's playing baseball (Gavin Dickey), one guy that's shooting free throws (Cornelius Ingram) and one guy that should be getting ready for the senior prom (Josh Portis)" -- on the backup QB situtation

"Bubba was great. After he got tanked the other day he kinda got it pretty good. What is today? Friday? Wednesday he did not have a very good day." -- on wide receiver Andre 'Bubba' Caldwell

Starting QB is not a problem.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!

Frank the Bunny

Smoking Gun Mug Shots

This is an old site, but it's still a classic. The Smoking Gun has a great mug shots page which contains actual mug shots of famous people being booked. They've even categorized them to make it easier to find your favorites. Here are a few of the ones I like:

Nick Nolte
George Clinton
Vince Vaughn
Macaulay Culkin
Andre The Giant
Michael Jackson
Bill Gates

Melinda and Melinda

Last night we saw the new Woody Allen movie Melinda and Melinda. It was pretty middle of the road for a Woody Allen movie, but was still quite entertaining. The basic premise is that over dinner two playwrights are arguing over whether life is comic or tragic. A friend then relates a series of events and ask each man to interpret the events. From that point on the movie alternates back and forth between one playwright's comic telling of the story and the other playwright's tragic retelling (both stories feature the main character named Melinda - hence Melinda and Melinda).

The highlights of the film for me was the acting of Radha Mitchell and the comic relief of Will Ferrell. Mitchell puts on a great performance alternating between a crazy, neurotic, pill-popping version of Melinda in the tragedy and a more balanced, single neighbor version of Melinda in the comedy. Ferrell takes on the role that Woody Allen clearly must have written for himself, and does a surprisingly good Allen impression. I've never been a huge Will Ferrell fan, but in this film he does an excellent job of providing physical comedy without being too over-the-top.

Poets on the Peaks

I just finished book #15 of 2005, Poets on the Peaks by John Suiter. Poets is a historical account of Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac, focusing primarily on the summers of 1952-1956 when the poets were serving as fire watchers on mountains in the North Cascades (Desolation Peak, Crater Mountain, Sourdough Mountain, and Sauk Mountain). The book also focuses on the development of the beat poet community during this time and each man's fascination with Buddhism and the pursuit of Dharma.

The whole book is very interesting, but to me the most exciting parts were the sections dealing with Kerouac. In the summer of 1956 Kerouac spent 63 days in a 14' x 14' look out on Desolation Peak, mostly in complete isolation. His experiences later resulted in much of the work found in The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels.

Much of the action in the book takes place in Washington state, so if you're familiar at all with Washington's geography, you'll run into lots of familiar places. All of the mountains the men spent time on are located in Washington and each of the poets spent significant time in Seattle. Philip Whalen even lived on Roosevelt Way, just a few blocks from where I live now!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Gremlins Lunch Box

Not too long ago I bought a Gremlins lunch box just like the one pictured below (thank you eBay). It even came with the original Gizmo/Spike thermos. I've been carrying my lunch to work in it most days lately and am quite digging it.

I can't remember for sure whether or not I had the same lunch box growing up, but I know I at least had something very similar. The amazing thing to me is how much smaller it seems now. Back in the day I used to pack an entire lunch in the thing and have plenty of space to spare. Now I have to take the thermos out just to fit a small tupperware dish with last night's leftovers. The whole experience is kind of like going back to an elementary school as an adult and realizing just how small the desks and chairs in those classrooms actually are...sometimes memories can be misleading.

Gizmo is a Mogwai. Spike is a Gremlin.

Killer Bees

Ask a baseball fan about killer bees, and they will usually assume you're talking about the Houston Astros' long-time combination of Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and whatever random 3rd guy the Astros have scrounged up who happens to have a last name that starts with the letter 'B'. However, after yesterday's spring training game between the Rockies and the Diamondbacks was cancelled on account of a swarm of bees the phrase has taken on a whole new meaning.

Apparently, the bees were quite intrigued by the coconut oil in Rockies pitcher Darren Oliver's hair gel. After 20-minutes of waiting for the bees to go away Oliver eventually gave up and left the game to seek shelter. Soon after play resumed the bees swarmed over the rest of the field even chasing Rockies shortstop Sergio Santos from his normal position all the way out into center field. The game was eventually called due to concern for the players and fans safety, although apparently no one was actually stung. You've gotta love Spring Training.
"I guess I must have smelled good. It was kind of funny at first, but after a while I started getting a little nervous and scared out there" - Rockies Pitcher Darren Oliver

Mmm Coconut

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Virtual Seattle

While browsing through the latest posts on Seattlest, a great new Seattle blog, I came across a post about VRSeattle a site that contains lots and lots (1200+) of Quicktime VR images of the Seattle area. The images give you a 360 degree view of places around Seattle and allow you to pan around, zoom in and out, etc. Here are a few quick favorites I found while looking through the site:

UW Campus - The UW campus has got to be one of the prettiest in the nation.

The Kingdome - Before it was knocked down and replaced by Seahawks Stadium.

Seahawk Stadium - Ever wonder what it's like to stand on an NFL field?

Dick's Drive-In - Seattle's favorite burger joint. This place is only a few blocks away from my house. You may also recognize it from Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Posse on Broadway" which contained the line "Dick's is the place where the crew hang out--the SWASS like to play, and the rich flaunt clout".

Lake Bill - A man-made lake on the Microsoft campus named after the company's fearless leader.

Mt. St. Helen's - In addition to Seattle pics, the site also contains other images from around Washington state including these images from Mt. St. Helen's (from before it's recent flare ups).

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Beatle Bob

Salon has an article about indie rock legend Beatle Bob the much debated crazy dancing dude who shows up at music festivals around the country. I also recommend checking out Guided By Voices' video for "My Kind of Soldier" which features Bob and some of his wild dance moves and mixes in bits and pieces of his story. For some reason the guy seems to have a very polarizing effect on music fans. Some people love him, some people thoroughly hate him. Personally, I've seen him a few times at the ACL Festival in Austin and always found him pretty entertaining to watch.

"My signature move is to get your hands to look like you're throwing dice and
then kick your leg back like a bowling move" - Beatle Bob

Social Security is #1

I got an email today from Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee Chairman (don't ask me how I got on their mailing list...let's just say that the RNC is clearly better at spam than the DNC) that contained the following nugget of information:
"The latest Gallup poll shows that Americans think Social Security is now the most important domestic issue. At 12%, Social Security has increased by 8% since January and is a greater concern than the economy (10%), health care (9%), or terrorism(9%). "
Seriously? Changing Social Security which is widely expected to be solvent until at least 2042-2052 is our most important domestic issue? WTF? What happened to our fear of a terrorist attack (and our fancy color coded alert scale that went with it)? What about feeding the poor and housing the homeless? What about education and health care? Sigh.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Awesome Game Winning Shot

TJ sent me this cool link to a video of an amazing buzzer beater by Blake Hoffarber in the Minnesota High School class 4A state title game. The kid is laying flat on his back when he launches up a shot at the buzzer that swishes right through the net. Awesome!


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Found Magazine

Found Magazine is a really cool magazine and website that collects interesting items that people have found and sent in (as you might guess from the name). They have lots of interesting old photos as well as notes and all kinds of other random stuff. Last year they even collected everything into a book which received rave reviews from everyone including the This American Life crew:
"Writers resent Found. How would you feel if you spent months and years slaving over stories when these talented rubberneckers can't seem to walk their dogs without tripping over one teensy epic after another? No fair!" — Sarah Vowell
"The lost scraps of writing in this book are perfect short stories." — Ira Glass
"A fascinating and compelling collection that will break your heart." — David Sedaris

A Found photo

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Mighty Gators

After storming to a 20 point lead in today's NCAA tourney game, the Gators fell apart down the stretch and barely held on to salvage a 5 point victory against Ohio. Still a victory is a victory. Next up is Villanova. On to the round of 32!

In other Gators news, our new head coach Urban Meyer appears to be whipping the boys into shape during spring drills, and he's turned out to be quite the quote machine as well. Some early quotes from him that I like:
"If I didn't give up bad language for Lent, I'd use some in there and let you know how excited I am." -- on starting spring practice
"I'm real excited but who cares what I think?" -- another one on starting spring practice
"I don't even know who you are, but if you run like that again, you're off the team." -- said to a player during warmup drills
"We can kind of paint it and say, 'Well this guy has potential; that guy has potential.' Well potential isn't a great word to use around our staff. It's what have you done?" -- on his concerns around the tailback position
"I hate to put the whole season on the tailback position, but I'm putting the whole season on the tailback position." -- on his concerns around the tailback position

Friday, March 18, 2005

Hittin' The Easy Street

Today I stopped by Easy Street Records in Queen Anne to cash in a couple of free CDs stamp cards I've been hanging on to for a while. The two CDs I selected were:

Tim Booth - Bone - This is the solo debut by Booth, the former lead singer of the British band James. I picked this one up after hearing 'Down To The Sea' which is a great track although 'Wave Hello' appears to be the first single.

Fruit Bats - Mouthfuls - The Fruit Bats are a Chicago based band on Sub Pop Records. This album came out in 2003 and flew under most people's radars (including mine). Mouthfuls is an indie-folk album which drew lots of comparsions to label mates Holopaw and Iron and Wine. I primarily picked this one up for the last track on the album 'When U Love Somebody'.

In addition to my two free CDs, I also picked up a copy of Death Cab For Cutie's new EP The John Byrd EP which features 7 live tracks from May 2004 including a cover of Sebadoh's "Brand New Love". Four of the songs were recorded at the Showbox on May 8th, the day after I saw them there...darn so close.

The Wappler Doppler

Our local weather man on KIRO is named Andy Wappler (pronounced Whoppler), which means that every time they run an ad for the nightly news they mention the Wappler Doppler. I don't know if that's as funny to anyone else as it is to me, but everytime I see one of those commercials I end up rolling on the floor laughing. Good times.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fever Pitch

Book #14 was Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. Fever Pitch is a memoir that follows Hornby's 35+ year obsession with the British football team Arsenal. I didn't know much about the British soccer league before reading his book, but his love for his team will ring true for any sports fan. Hornby is funny as always, telling great stories about things like skipping a friend's birthday party to watch his the Arsenal, having a hard time deciding whether to leave a game to check on his girlfriend who has fainted, etc. It's easy to laugh at his stories, but as a sports fan it's also scary how true some of his observations are.

Later this year, 20th Century Fox is releasing a movie that's supposedly based on the book. The movie stars Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon (why?) who plays a life long Boston Red Sox fan. How you can take a book about soccer and turn it into a romantic comedy about baseball is beyond me, but what do I know?


Lucky book #13 was Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick. The book is vintage Vonnegut and is therefore by definition great. In fact, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever been disappointed by anything the man has ever written.

Slapstick is a novel about Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain (the last and tallest President of the United States) and his sister Eliza (inspired by Vonnegut and his sister Alice who he credits in the prologue as 'the person he has always written for'). Wilbur and Eliza are twin monsters (think giant Neanderthals) born to human parents who grow to resent their hideous offspring when they outlive their 14 year life expectancy. Despite the fact that the twins pretend to have no intelligence when in public it turns out that they are actually both quite intelligent in their own ways and when combined make up the most powerful intelligence force since Einstein.

The book is written in the first person as an autobiography of our hero Wilbur as he looks back and reflects on his life. As you can probably tell, the book is pretty difficult to describe, which isn't super surprising given the amount of territory it covers and the speed in which it does so. Some of the great ideas the book presents include:
  • Human Miniaturization - The Chinese have perfected the science of shrinking themselves which allows them to build a much larger society that can subsist on the Earth's limited resources.
  • Distributed Brain Processing - The Chinese learn how to harness the power of people's brains as a collective processing system. By breaking down the barrier of the brain as a single processing unit, mankind is able to reach new heights of intellectual achievement.
  • Gravity Fluctuation - Vonnegut presents the idea that gravity has not always been a constant and that the pyramids of Egypt were built during a period of light gravity.
  • Extended Families - As President, Wilbur rolls out a program which presents every American with a new middle name based on a noun and a number between 1 and 20. Everyone within the same name becomes part of an extended family which is meant to help fight loneliness and build a stronger communities.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ the Kidnapped - Vonnegut introduces a new religion whose believers think that Jesus has been kidnapped by the Forces of Evil and that if we don't do everything we can do to find him in time he will destroy mankind. Followers of the religion are constantly searching for their savior as they go about about their day to day activities, including such activities as searching under their dinner plates, checking behind doors, etc.
Hi ho!



Book #12 was Michel Houellebecq's Platform. Platform is a French novel which looks at the question of whether a travel company could exploit the market for 'sex tourism'. Building on the age old adage that 'sex sells', the company decides to take it to the extreme, creating Aphrodite clubs where anything goes. Mix that in with a love story, a travel-logue about Thailand, a pretty good sense of humor and Islamic terrorists who don't take to kindly to that whole selling sex thing and you've pretty much got all of the elements for this book.

According to Publisher's Weekly:

"[Houellebecq's] general thesis is that a liberal, hypocritical elite is presiding over the spiritual bankruptcy of the West and retreating from the one Enlightenment idea that is still valid: hedonism. Only the sensations of the body have any worth-hence, the utopian value of sex tourism. "

Um...yeah what they said. All in all I'd rate this one a 'meh' on the 'yuck' to 'awesome' scale.

The Plot Against America

I'm back. While I was in Boston, I managed to polish off four more books in my 50 book challenge.

Book #11 was Phillip Roth's The Plot Against America. The book is a work of a historical fiction that hypothesizes what it would be like if Charles Lindbergh had won the presidential election in 1940 over F.D.R. Before picking up the book, I only knew Lindbergh from his kidnapped baby and his escapades in the Spirit of St. Louis. I had no idea that Lindbergh was a staunch isolationist and was widely known to be anti-Semitic. In October of 1938, Lindbergh even accepted a gold medal, the Service Cross of the German Eagle, from the Nazis. As President, Lindbergh and his America First policy keeps the U.S. out of WWII after reaching a cordial 'understanding' with Hitler. The book follow Roth's own (Jewish) family as they deal with the struggles of being Jewish in America during Lindbergh's tenure. Is Lindbergh plotting something with Hitler? Will the Nazi's eliminate the Jews in the U.S. as well? You'll have to read the book to find out.

This was one of my favorite books, if not the favorite, so far in this year's challenge. It's definitely a great read that will keep you coming back for more until it's all gone. My only complaint is the ending, which felt a bit rushed and not as well written as the rest of the book (it does have some nice plot twists though).

You can find oodles more reviews for the book on MetaCritic.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Boston Bound

I'm heading to Boston for a few days. It's unclear at this point whether or not I'll have internet access during my stay, so I may not post for a bit. I know you're probably devastated, but just remember to breathe and you'll get through it.

Oh and if your a Red Sox fan, I'd just like to point out that last year I went to my first game at Fenway at which point the Sox totally turned their season around and went on to break the curse. I'm not going to say I had anything to do with it, but I'm not going to say I didn't either.

Best Bagger Contest

In fairness to my previous post about the silliness that is competitive twirling, I should probably come clean and admit that during high school I competed twice in the National Grocers Association's Best Bagger Contest after winning Florida's state bag boy competition. There, I said it.

I could explain to you how the whole thing works, but you're probably better of reading the NGA's official description of the contest. Yes, there is a paper round and a plastic round.

You'd be amazed at how intense people are about the competition. They have coaches. They train. It's serious stuff. Though I'm loathe to admit it, I could bag some groceries like nobodies business. I finished fifth in the nation my second year narrowly missing out on a victory and a chance to go on David Letterman and get my 15 minutes of fame (though I did win some scholarship money for school). Who knows, if I'd stuck with bagging maybe I could've been somebody.
"Agnes: And you, start over. I want everything in one bag.
Pimple Faced Kid: Yes, ma'am!
Agnes: But I don't want the bag to be heavy.
Pimple Faced Kid: I don't think that's possible!
Agnes: What are you, the possible police? Just do it!
Homer: Hurry up, I can't stand here jabbing you all day!
Bag Boy: Please, ow, stop, ow! Bag boys have feeling too, you know!
Homer: No you don't!" -- The Simpsons from "Last Exit to Springfield"

Competitive Twirling

It's official. There is indeed a U.S. association for everything. I know competitive baton twirling might seem a little silly at first, but seriously how is this not already an Olympic event? If it's good enough for Hall of Fame basketball player and world class twirler Calvin Murphy, how can it not be enough for the much maligned IOC? Hmm, on second thought maybe it's because the World Baton Twirling Federation hasn't even gotten around to finishing their website yet. Ah well, never mind.
"I learned to be tough and take care of myself at an early age. I had to because I was a young black boy twirling a baton." -- Calvin Murphy

Rat City Roller Girls

The Rat City Roller Girls are all female Seattle roller derby league featuring four teams, the Derby Liberation Front, the SockIt Wenches, Grave Danger, and the Throttle Rockets. I haven't made it to one of their bouts yet, but it looks awesome!

Definitely brings back memories of back in the day my brother and I used to stay up late on Saturday nights to watch Roller Games on TV. It was basically wrestling on wheels, but since it came on late we knew it had to be cool.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Dr. Seuss Political Propaganda

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was a political cartoonist before he reached his hey-day as the author of children's books. A collection of 200 of his cartoons was published in 1999 as Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

"The cartoons savage Hitler, Japan, Stalin, Mussolini, and 'isolationist' leaders such as Charles Lindbergh. They exhort readers to give full support to the war effort, put up with shortages, buy U. S. savings bonds, and help control inflation. They are sharply critical of anti-Semitism and anti-black racism--and, shockingly, undeniably racist in their portrayal of Japanese Americans." -- Amazon Review
The cartoons give a fascinating look into the mindframe that people were in during the World War II era. Fortunately, UCSD which is the home of the Dr. Seuss Collection has made many of these cartoons available for viewing on their site. Definitely worth checking out.

Tawny Peaks Part Deux

I'm sure you're probably dying to know what happened in the Tawny Peaks breast implant auction. Well, it looks like Golden Palace Casino was the winner plopping down $16,766 so they could add it to their growing collection of eBay paraphernalia . The breast implant will join such treasures as the Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich and the Lincoln Fry. According to Online Casino News, "there is no word yet on what the online gambling company plans to do with the implant."

Bob Dylan on KEXP

KEXP did a great two-hour Dylan set this afternoon. You can stream it from their website here. You'll need to specify March 9th and 6:38pm as the time/date (don't ask me why it didn't start on the hour).

Here's the set list they played (t moves chronologically through his early career):
  1. In My Time of Dyin'
  2. Death of Emmitt Till (live on WBAI - 1962)
  3. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
  4. Girl From The North Country
  5. Only A Pawn In Their Game
  6. The Ballad Of Hollis Brown
  7. Mama, You Been On My Mind
  8. It Ain't Me Babe (live at Newport - 1964)
  9. Maggie's Farm
  10. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (live at Newport - 1965)
  11. Like A Rolling Stone (live at Newport - 1965)
  12. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
  13. Queen Jane Approximately
  14. Ray Charles cover version of Let's Go Get Stoned
  15. Rainy Day Women
  16. Temporary Like Achilles
  17. Blind Willie McTell

It was a nice pick me up after the disappointing show on Monday. I heart KEXP.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Player of the Week

Cool! Check me out, I was player of the week in the Underdog Sport League Flag Football this week. As for the bit about dancing on the tables with the Cuervo girls after the game, I can neither confirm nor deny that.

The Mighty Seattle Gators

Celebrity Overload

If you can't make it over to check out the Henry Art Gallery's new Celebrity Skin photo exhibit, you may want to check out the fabu celebrity pics on WireImage.com. It's $10 a month to get the full-sized images (lame), but you can check out the thumbnails for free. It's sort of a fascinating site in that sick 'why am I spending so much time looking at these' sort of way.

Once you hurt your brain looking there, I recommend heading over to H.O.P.E. to check out the people who brought us StopBritney.com, StopAshlee.com and their latest campaign to StopParis. Of course it's nearly 2 a.m., and I'm posting to my blog instead of sleeping, so what do I know?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Tonight we saw 'The Bob Dylan Show' kicking off his 2005 tour at the Paramount.

Having never seen Dylan live before, I had high hopes of seeing a great show. Despite my optimism, I tried to keep my enthusiasm in check due to Sean Nelson's negative write-up on the show in this week's Stranger. Turns out Nelson was spot on (as usual). Dylan's voice was in rough shape (even for him which is really saying something) making it sound as if he was mumbling all evening. Even when he played songs that were old favorites of mine I had a tough time making out the lyrics to anything other than the choruses. Dylan no longer plays guitar on stage, so most of the musical work was left to his competent but not overly exciting band (though they did feature a disproportionately hot female fiddler...distraction technique?) . Seeing the show mostly just made me sad that I never got to experience Dylan at his peak. It actually reminded me a lot of watching Edgar Martinez finishing out the last year of his career for the Mariners last season. Despite the fact that you love the guy and you really want him to hit a homerun, you know deep down that it just isn't his time any more. That said, even being in the same room as Dylan is still pretty sweet, I mean the guy's a freakin' legend!

Merle Haggard and his 8-piece band The Strangers on the other hand were a very pleasant surprise. They played old favorites including 'Mama Tried' and 'I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink', but mostly Haggard just did a great job of commanding the room and keeping everyone's attention. The set he played was very loose, but in that outlaw country sort of way that you'd expect from Haggard. Several times he stopped during the middle of a song and completely changed course, but he always managed to do so in a way that made you like him all the more. One example of this was when he played the first line from 'Okie From Muskogee' and then decided that Dylan fans probably weren't the right crowd for that one. Earlier in the night, he joked about how his band was 'the oldest bar band in the country', about how they had been touring together for nearly 40 years now, and about how he knew how to play in front of crowds where fist-fights were taking place in the audience, but wasn't used to playing in front of a seated crowd in a classy venue like the Paramount. Another highlight came when Haggard alluded to Martha Stewart's recent release from prison and joked about how he and Dylan were going to a pen a song called 'Martha Stewart's Blues', which he even ad-libbed a few lines from. Hearing Haggard's music again made me realize just how much I'd listened to him while I was growing up and just how under-rated his work is today. All in all an excellent set, so if you catch 'The Bob Dylan Show' somewhere down the road make sure you get there early to catch Merle.

As for opening act Amos Lee, all I can say is 'meh'.

The line it is drawn the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past.
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.
--Bob Dylan

Sunday, March 06, 2005

King Felix

U.S.S. Mariner has a funny post today with pictures of Felix "The Future" Hernandez pitching at spring training. Hernandez is the Mariners' 18 year old 98mph fastball wielding phenom. Terms like 'best player in the history of mankind ever' don't get thrown around often, so you might want to get on the bandwagon while there's still room.

Queer Eye For The Straight Felix...get it Fab 5/Fab 50? Ah, never mind.


Saturday, March 05, 2005

How I Made $2...err 75 cents

While I was browsing through books today at Half Price Books, I happened upon a $1.25 copy of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. I picked it up to take a look and was surprised to find two crisp new $1 bills tucked into the back. Perhaps it was intentionally left there to encourage someone to purchase the book? Perhaps someone was using the money as a bookmark (but then why would it be in the back of the book and why would there be $2 instead of $1)? Regardless, I walked out of the store with a copy of the book and 75 cents to spare, not too shabby.

Books #1-10

Here's a quick recap of the first ten books of my 2005 50 book challenge:
  1. What's the Matter with Kansas - Thomas Frank
  2. How We Are Hungry - Dave Eggers
  3. The Wilco Book - Wilco
  4. The Polysyllabic Spree - Nick Hornby
  5. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
  6. Ticket To Ride - Larry Kane
  7. Hobart #4 - Various
  8. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #15 - Various
  9. Forced Entries - Jim Carroll
  10. Imperial Hubris - Michael Scheuer

Imperial Hubris

I recently finished Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, which was book #10 for me in 2005. The author of the book is listed as Anonymous, but it is now common knowledge that it was actually written by former CIA bin Laden Unit Chief Michael Scheuer.

Scheuer's book is a fascinating read about why we were attacked on 9/11, what it meant, and why he is pessimistic about our future. Scheuer makes the argument that bin Laden is no crazed madman, but rather an intelligent, pious leader of an Islamic insurgency that is striking back at the United States in direct response to our foreign policy (our support for Israel, the occupation of Muslim land by U.S. soldiers, our alliances with Saudi Arabia, etc.). Scheuer points out that bin Laden has declared a defensive jihad against the U.S., a call to arms for all Muslims of the world to come to the defense of their religion. He sees the 9/11 attacks not as a one-time terrorist attack, but rather as a military victory by bin Laden in part of an on-going war that could last for generations.

The book is very harsh on the Bush administration for mishandling the war to this point. Scheuer feels that the war in Afghanistan was mismanaged from the start and that attacking Iraq (the second most holy land in Islam) was a major error that has just provoke more hatred for the U.S. He points out that our entry into Iraq was probably perceived by bin Laden as being 'like a Christmas present you long for but never expect to receive'.

Scheuer is equally harsh on the left arguing that weak politically correct mindedness prevents America from looking at the war as a fight against a worldwide Islamic insurgency and committing to fighting the war the way it needs to be fought. Because he lashes out against people on both sides of the political spectrum, the book has managed to be both attacked and embraced by pundits sometimes within the same review. Scheuer recently posted an interesting review of his reviews that goes into more detail about the book's reception.

Scheuer is not optimistic that things are going to get better anytime soon. He critiques the U.S. for fighting al Qaeda as criminals claiming that the insurgency is growing faster than we can arrest the individuals within it. At the end of Chapter 3, he provides a detailed list of all of the victories by the U.S. since 9/11 and contrasts them with what he sees as victories by al Qaeda. The data presents a valid argument that despite our perception of how the war is going that we are actually losing or at the very least not doing as well as one might think. All in all Scheuer paints a bleak picture for our future. I'll leave you with this depressing quote from the intro of the book:

"I write this book with a pressing certainty that al Qaeda will attack the continental United States again, that its next strike will be more damaging than that of 11 September 2001, and could include use of weapons of mass destruction."


I added a new feature to my blog today. If you click on the GeoURL image on the lower right side of the page it will take you here where you can see other blogs by people located near me.

You can also check out a live version of the map you see below. The red spots indicate places with registered blogs. Nice to see some bloggers out their representing the middle of the ocean.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Autographed Breast Impants

I don't think I'll ever get tired of eBay stories. This week brings us news of former stripper Tawny Peaks who is auctioning off one of her size 69-HH silicone implants. She'll even autograph it for the lucky(?) winner. As for how you autograph a breast implant, don't ask me I have no clue...although I bet you have to use a Sharpie cause a regular pen probably isn't such a good plan.

You may remember (though I don't know why you would...) Peaks as the first person to ever be involved in a law suit over assault with a breast. Her alleged victim decided to dismiss his regular lawsuit and "settle it here...in The People's Court"...which in retrospect didn't work out so well for him since he lost.

So there you have it, if you're interested, you too can own a piece of history. The bidding is currently at a mere $14,500.

"They were like really big, crazy big" - Tawny Peaks

Old Baseball Pictures

Spring Training is in full gear, so if you're like me you're probably jonesing for the season to start. To help pass the time I recommend checking out HistoryLink.org, which has a bunch of great pictures from the early years of baseball in Washington State.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hillside Quickies

Tonight we had dinner at Hillside Quickies, my favorite vegan/veggie restaurant in Seattle. You just can't beat vegan soul-food. Mmm. As a bonus tonight we got to listen to A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders playing on the stereo while we sat in the resturarant.

I also found out today that KEXP's John in the Morning is a vegetarian, so we can add him to the list of notable vegetarians.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

We Built This Starbucks

What do you get when you mix the ulta-hipness of corporate America with crappy 80's music? If you guessed Starbucks managers reworking Jefferson Starship's ummm "hit" song 'We Built This City' then congratulations you've just earned yourself a Chantico.

The Stranger has a funny write-up (look under Feb. 24th) on the whole episode, but better yet they've even posted a MP3 of the song for your listening pleasure.

Knee-deep in the mocha/making coffee right
So many partners/working late at night
We just want to build here--IMDS, does it pass?
We call on development to complete the task!
Living the way of being, In the Green Apron Book!
Don't you remember? We built this Starbucks on heart and soul!

The Paulcam

My brother started a blog, and so far it's flickriffic! You can check it out here. Good job bro.