Sunday, August 31, 2003

The Battle of the Giant Monument

Moore's Law - The immorality of the Ten Commandments. By Christopher Hitchens

Read the article about the Ten Commandments above (from Slate) if you'd like a VERY different perspective on the whole flap about the monument in Alabama. The basic gist of the article is that the commandments imply not only an immoral people to receive them but also a "mad despot" of a maker. This and Bill Maher's comment last week on Real Time that religion is a "neurological disorder" dovetail nicely. A brief quote:

This leaves us with the insoluble mystery of why he would have molded ("in his own image," yet) a covetous, murderous, disrespectful, lying, and adulterous species. Create them sick, and then command them to be well? What a mad despot this is, and how fortunate we are that he exists only in the minds of his worshippers.

In Other News...

Brad and I saw The Battle of Shaker Heights tonight. It's a good movie for the first 45 minutes, and Shia is very likeable as Kelly. But the low budget, quick shoot, and direction by committee take their toll in the second half, and by the end there are a lot of disjointed things happening. Erica wrote a good story--you can feel it as you watch. I don't think this film does it justice.

We did have a splendid dinner afterwards at Lalo's on Clybourn Avenue in Lincoln Park. Their margaritas are "famous" for a reason.

Friday, August 29, 2003

A Thousand Beautiful Things...

is the title of the first song on Annie Lennox's new album, Bare . I bought it at Tower Records after having dinner with Brian, Michele, and Jon. I definitely ate too many chips before our dinner arrived...wouldn't you think that would have done a better job of soaking up the margarita that's making it difficult to type properly right now?

After allowing Brian to pay for dinner, I also managed to sell him on about 6 CDs while at Tower, including Radiohead's Hail to the Thief , The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin , Chris Isaak's Forever Blue , Coldplay's Parachutes , Wilco's AM , and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue . None of these were more than $9.99, and at least two of them were only $7.99! So, if you have a Tower nearby, I'd recommend a trip over the weekend while the sale is still on. And thanks to Brian both for the meal and for spending money on my tastes, and to Michele and Jon for being part of a fun evening.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Best CDs (in My Collection)

As I claimed I might a few days ago, I've sifted through about 450 CDs to come up with a list of the best and brightest. I didn't consider anything released this year eligible: not enough time. Even so, this list feels heavy on recent music--indeed, with the exception of a few Dylan albums and the 'Til Tuesday, it could be a list of the best of the last 10 years. I'll be looking forward to getting blasted for this list. Without further adieu, in alphabetical order:

Fiona Apple: When the Pawn…
Beck: Mutations
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
Bob Dylan: Love and Theft
Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline
Everclear: Songs From an American Movie, Volume One and Two
Ben Folds: Rockin' the Suburbs
Chris Isaak: Forever Blue
Aimee Mann: Bachelor No. 2 (or, the last remains of the dodo)
Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Tom Petty: Wildflowers
Radiohead: Kid A
Radiohead: OK Computer
Radiohead: The Bends
'Til Tuesday: Everything's Different Now
Toad the Wet Sprocket: Dulcinea
Weezer: Pinkerton
Weezer: Weezer , (blue album)
Williams, Lucinda: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Frontrunner Dean?

Dean Has 21-Point Lead Over Kerry in N.H.

Seeing Howard Dean out in front in New Hampshire, in Iowa, in California, and nationwide is gratifying for me; we're talking about the man who made civil unions a reality in the United States, after all. He raised a million dollars on his recent tour of the country! He's got momentum.

But the way the media covers his ascent to the top of the Democratic pack troubles me. He's thought of as the Democrat who will stand up for Democratic values, but not as the one who can beat Bush. I don't support Dean only because I think he's willing to tell it like it is, though that is refreshing. I don't agree with everything he stands for--especially his position on guns, which puts him firmly on the side of the NRA. But I believe that these positions make him electable, and I wish the media would focus on that possibility rather making it look like the entire Democratic contingent in this nation is simply out for revenge. I, for one, want no such thing. I don't care how Bush leaves office, nor do I bear him any ill will when he's gone. I just want a president who will do the right things, fight the right fights, and stand for a few more of the right ideals. And since President Bartlet is busy...Governor Dean will have to do. He has my wholehearted support for the nomination. If you feel the same, tell him so: sign up for the Dean newsletter and join over 330,000 Americans for Dean. You'll find a link to his site on the right and at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Hints of Satisfaction

The freelance project is complete. I can go back to sitting around without a purpose...watching Bravo for three hours "straight" tonight, from Queer Eye to Boy Meets Boy to West Wing...thinking about sending out resumes to companies that might hire me in less than two months. Sounds like the life, doesn't it?

I can also start reading Hey Nostradamus! , the new book from Douglas Coupland. He's the author of Generation X and Microserfs , which many of you know is one of my favorite books. This book is about a school shooting similar to Columbine...I'm curious to see how he pulls it off.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to my CD collection in approximately alphabetical order to come up with a master list of the absolute best CDs in my collection. Will I ever actually make this list? I don't know, but today I've got Jimmy Eat World, Elton John, Carole King, and Led Zeppelin in rotation.

What are your favorite CDs of all time?

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Reality Sets In

Yahoo! News - Bustamante Leads Schwarzenegger in California Poll

The latest polls don't show Arnold becoming the next governor of California. Bustamante has the lead--by 12%, though that will change now that Bill Simon has dropped out--and Davis is only 5% away from beating the recall.

Just a bit of good news on a Sunday afternoon.

Freelance deadline=tomorrow.

Just a bit of bad news on a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

This is the Song That Never Ends...

Yes, it goes on and on, my friends. For all of you who use this site to keep up with my personal employment trials: Remember the employer that was going to give me a thumbs-up or thumbs-down answer about my job prospects with them oh, about a month ago? Today they granted themselves a third (or is it fourth?) extension of their self-imposed hiring deadline. Meaning that, unless they act by next Wednesday, I'll have been mired in their hiring process for two months.

But, as no one else calls to offer me a job, and as the position is better than anything I've seen posted in the last month, I remain interested...

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Living at the Speed of Light

I'm busy with freelance work between now and Monday, the deadline. This doesn't mean I won't keep posting on a daily basis--I'm sure I'll find time for that. It does mean that I can't fix the flagrantly misbehaving comment system right now, which means you'll have to see for yourself whether there are comments for a given post; the comment counter refuses to do its job. For instance, there are comments under "Aaron, Are You Having a Flashback" and "Petrificus Totalus" that don't show up in the comment count shown on the main page.

In short: I don't know why the system is malfunctioning, but I appreciate your comments even if enetation (the comment server) doesn't. If the problem isn't fixed by next week I'll fix it myself.

Way to Go, Gray!

Davis finally opened his mouth today and told it like it is: "The Republicans behind this recall say they want you to oust me for past mistakes," he said. "My friends, they don't give a rip about past mistakes. This is all about control in the future, seizing back the governor's chair and believing with so many candidates running they can do it with just a handful of California voters." If he doesn't resign, though I maintain that he would be doing California a financial favor if he did by avoiding the cost of the recall election, I hope Gray beats this thing. How embarrassing would that be for the Republicans?

Aaron, Are You Having a Flashback?

Tonight's West Wing was almost eerie. President Bartlet delivered a speech to his daughter Zoe about the "nightmare scenario" for the Secret Service, in which she gets kidnapped "from a party by someone who puts his arm around your neck in a bathroom and you're so afraid as he drags you away that you don't even notice the Secret Service agent with a bullet in his head and it's 30 minutes before anyone notices you're gone and by the time we think to close the airports you're on a plane to Uganda and the terrorists demand that we make Israel release 468 political prisoners..." and on and on. And guess how season four ended? Gee, Zoe got kidnapped from the bathroom of a bar by someone who had put a bullet through the head of a Secret Service agent and, as our pal Josiah predicted, the country was suddenly being run by an enraged father rather than a cool-headed leader. Could Sorkin have been taking LSD with his 'shrooms? I know I felt like I was having a flashback today. I'm surprised they didn't cut to footage of the whole speech from today's episode sometime during the kidnapping debacle; maybe that's how John Wells will start the Sorkin-less season five.

As long as I'm on Bravo, did anyone else see Boy Meets Boy ? Who didn't know Sean was straight? I predict that Franklin is the other pretender and that Wes wins the game. He and James have had the best compatibility throughout the show.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

You Be the Judge!

Battle of Shaker Heights Screenplay

Through discussions with people who read this site, I've discovered that Brad and I are not the only people with a more-than-passing interest in this season of Project Greenlight . To that end, the link above leads to the original screenplay for the movie they made this year, The Battle of Shaker Heights . Now WE can decide just how badly Kyle and Efram--AKA Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum--jacked up Erica's script.

If you actually want to SEE the movie, the PG website has it opening in Chicago on August 29, playing at the Loews Webster Place. That would be just off of I-90/94, near the Fullerton exit.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

A Way Out of the Recall?

Gov. Gray Davis should bring down curtain on sorry recall show
The article above suggests a way to end the madness of the California recall--today. Rather than waiting for the voters to boot him out of office in a month and a half--and it looks, more and more each day, like that's what will happen--Gray Davis should resign. Now.

If he did so, Cruz Bustamante would become governor. Now. And the recall would be a moot point. How can you recall Gray Davis--and that is what the question on the ballot asks, whether Davis should be recalled--when he's a private citizen?

Call it underhanded manipulation of democracy if you will. The lawful transition from governor to lieutenant governor in the face of sagging popularity would be a simpler thing than a messy recall election. It would save the state and each county millions of dollars that they can ill afford. It would keep the Democrats in the governor's office, which is what the people of California chose when they voted for Davis. Bustamante is leading in the polls to replace Davis, anyhow; it's not as if he's an unknown quantity or a novice.

This whole circus could come to an end tomorrow, if Gray Davis sees it in himself to walk away with his head held high rather than waiting a few months to walk away in shame. He may save his own political future by doing so; he would undoubtedly help preserve California's.

Friday, August 15, 2003

I Could Have Told You That!

Scientist calls gay people 'pinnacle of evolution'

I'm all for anything that improves the standing of gay people in America and around the world...but the scientist quoted in this article may have gone a step farther than even I can go. We're delightful people, it's true; if you believe television we're quite willing to make people over and improve their lives. But "the pinnacle of human evolution?" If color coordination and an appreciation for musicals is the ultimate result of the whole Darwin thing, I might have to become a creationist .

OK, maybe not.

A Second Chance

If you missed the first four episodes of The West Wing on Bravo this week--and you would have missed four hours of very good television--you have a second chance this Sunday, as Bravo has apparently decided to make that day catch-up day each week. The four episodes will run continuously from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Just thought you should know.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Who'd Have Thought?

I am proud to announce that this site is now the fourth one listed when one searches for "South Carolina" + Shrooms on Yahoo. How do I know? Someone actually visited today as a result of performing that search. After a poor performance on the golf course today, that cheered me right up. Paste it into your Yahoo or Google search and try it!

Reason number two to be cheerful: David Sedaris has an article in the latest New Yorker . Does anyone else wish he'd publish another book already?

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Expecto Patronum!

Since mentioning on Monday that I was but a quarter of the way through the latest Harry Potter book--and being chided for it--I've found it hard to concentrate on much besides the adventues of our young wizard hero. Tonight I finished the 870-page beast of a book--I think I read the last 500 pages in the past 24 hours--and I wish J.K. Rowling would finish book six already! I about lost it when Dumbledore cried at the end of the second-to-last chapter...the last 200 pages of the book flew by at breakneck pace. I have to ask, though: wasn't it pretty clear who would die in this book? What do people think Rowling has in store for us in the final two books? And who will die: Voldemort, Harry, or both?

Wingardium Leviosa!

I've also been watching the start of The West Wing since Bravo started running it Monday. I didn't know Charlie's mom had died in the line of duty...I think I like him now more than I ever have, and my respect for Aaron Sorkin only grows as I notice the subtle touches he added to every episode. How did this show stay on the air, though? In the first two episodes the President rips into conservative Christians and Texans, both of whom are portrayed as almost beneath contemplation. Not that I'm a staunch defender of either sort--rip away, Jed--but why didn't anyone start a boycott? Maybe no conservative Christians or Texans ever watched the show?

Petrificus Totalus!

Coldplay, Flaming Lips, Wilco, Sigur Ros, Foo Fighters, Joseph Arthur, Bright Eyes, Kylie Minogue, Lisa Loeb, Beck: can anyone make a case for why these artists should or shouldn't be in the 2002 top ten? Or for why I should have kept artists (Alanis, David Gray, Counting Crows, Aimee Mann, Bruce Springsteen) who got dropped from the original list?

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Finally, a Recall I Can Support

The Public? Let’s Recall It

I thought putting up links to George Will was sort of like giving equal time to opposing views, but behold: for the second time in as many weeks Will is taking Republicans to task for their "situational ethics," and he explains the "tawdry reason" why Republicans have changed their views in yet another arena. This time it's about a topic that I think most people don't understand (I know I didn't): the voluntary $3 check-off on your tax return to fund presidential campaigns. Will's perspective on this--that it amounts to a small minority of taxpayers funneling more and more of everyone's money to a purpose a vast majority doesn't want--is interesting, if perhaps a bit disingenuous in ignoring the confusion of filling out a 1040 that probably stops a lot of people from checking another box they don't really understand.

By the way, if the comments seem to go haywire occasionally, I apologize--I know some people have posted comments over and over because they don't seem to be working. My comment provider is doing some updates right now. Hopefully things will be more stable in the near future. Keep commenting!

Monday, August 11, 2003

Proving Ground for Future Politicians?

Full Cast and Crew for Predator (1987)

It just occurred to me that if Arnold wins the California election, he'll be the second cast member from the movie Predator to govern a state. Perhaps Carl Weathers--AKA Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies--should run next?

On a totally unrelated note, what was your favorite CD of 2002? I'm still thinking about the revised list and I'd like to hear what other people think.

Queer Eye isn't the only show on Bravo...

Saw Gray Davis on Real Time with Bill Maher tonight on HBO. Why do Californians want to be rid of this guy? He seemed modest and humorous, and he was a good sport with Maher, who isn't always good about playing nice with his guests. Oh, and he mentioned that he balanced a budget that was $30 billion out of whack. Doesn't sound like a guy who should be terminated.

Has anyone else been watching Project Greenlight ?

I'm a quarter of the way through Harry Potter and totally enthralled. If it hadn't been such a busy weekend I think I'd have finished it already.

Good news: The West Wing is in reruns on Bravo starting tomorrow. Anyone who missed the beginning of the series--this includes me--can catch it all from the very beginning. I know it's not as good as it once was, but now we can relive the days when Sorkin was writing the show on shrooms and pretend that Rob Lowe never left and Mrs. Landingham never died. That's got to be good for something.

Friday, August 08, 2003

It's the Devil's Way Now...

Using Catholicism

I promise I won't post a link to every left-leaning columnist who writes about Bush--there's no point. But I think this particular article by Eleanor Clift is important, because most of America has not been paying attention to the way that Bush--and by Bush I mean Karl Rove, who decides how Bush's campaign will be run--uses deeply divisive and underhanded methods to obtain and maintain power. The patterns are obscured by the way each new instance of this behavior takes place in a different place, dealing with a different issue, and under the auspices of a different figurehead. But mark my words: this will only get uglier. Bush does not hold power, to use a trite phrase, by appealing to the better angels of our nature. He may try to sound that way, but calling Democrats anti-Catholic (happening right now), questioning the patriotism of decorated and disabled war veterans who question the wisdom of unilateral aggression (happened to Democratic Senator Max Cleland, who Bush cronies brought to defeat in 2002), and calling potential voters under the guise of a pollster and telling them an opponent is a liar, a cheat, and a fraud (happened in South Carolina against John McCain in 2000, where Bush operatives also called McCain "the fag candidate" because he met with the Log Cabin Republicans--the horror!) is the behavior of a divider, not a uniter. This is assuredly not the change in tone in Washington that Bush and so many Republicans (Minnesotans, remember Norm Coleman in the debates?) promised.

Vote for whoever you want. At least know, before you do, how they're playing you for a fool, telling you what Karl Rove knows you want to hear while telling people in South Carolina something else and people in California yet another thing. The Bush campaign is remarkable, and I admire it for two things: 1) The ability to stay "on message" through any crisis, up to and including economic collapse and the presumed intelligence of Cabinet officers like Colin Powell and Condi Rice who must know that half of what they're saying can't possibly be right; 2) The ability to do so while saying inconsistent things to different groups of people based on what those groups want to hear without, in an age where everything that a politician says can potentially be heard by everyone, ever getting called on it by the media or other candidates in a way that resonates with people enough to make them question Bush's honesty or ability to lead.

Enjoy the article. Let me know what you think.

A Bad Day Golfing...

Isn't quite as good as getting a job, but beats actually going to work. My dad and I played a course in Elgin this afternoon that offered little in the way of challenge and a good deal of annoyance. And it rained three times while we were playing, defying the Weather Channel's certainty that no rain would fall today.

But...the new Harry Potter was waiting for me when I got home. I know--I'm almost two months behind the times. I haven't even finished Hillary's book yet!

Speaking of books, you may have noticed that I added a "Recent Reads" section on the right. Each link will take you to the page for the particular book; I'm only listing books I've read AND enjoyed. (Which explains why 17-year-old Nick McDonell's Twelve , possibly the most overrated book of recent times, didn't make the sidebar.) I know, linking to Amazon makes me a corporate sellout, but they have good reviews and the most extensive customer comments on books, making the site a good spot to browse even if you buy from Barnes and Noble or your favorite independent bookseller. (You can't buy from Borders. My good friend Marilee Reu won't let you.)

That's enough whimsy for now.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Original 2002 Top 20

This list was made in mid-December, 2002. It includes (with the "not listed" category) all the CDs from 2002 I owned at that time. Rest assured, there will be changes made when the time for revision arrives, especially because there is a significant stock of 2002 CDs listed at the end of this post that I didn't get until Christmas or later. Oh, and the Flaming Lips are top ten, definitely--discuss.

1. Coldplay—Rush of Blood to the Head
2. David Gray—New Day at Midnight
3. Wilco—Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
4. Alanis Morissette—Under Rug Swept
5. Beck—Sea Change
6. Kylie Minogue—Fever
7. Lisa Loeb—Cake and Pie
8. Aimee Mann—Lost in Space
9. Counting Crows—Hard Candy
10. Bruce Springsteen—The Rising
11. Robbie Williams—Escapology (UK version)
12. Elvis Costello—When I Was Cruel
13. Flaming Lips—Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
14. French Kicks—One Time Bells
15. Moby—18
16. Ryan Adams—Demolition
17. George Harrison—Brainwashed
18. Chris Isaak—Always Got Tonight
19. Sheryl Crow—C’mon, C’mon
20. Dave Matthews Band—Busted Stuff

Not listed: Weezer—Maladroit , The Walkmen—Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone , Wallflowers—Red Letter Day , Phantom Planet—The Guest , Bonnie Raitt—Silver Lining , Oasis—Heathen Chemistry , Tom Petty—The Last DJ

Purchased after list: Foo Fighters—One by One , Bright Eyes—Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground , Desaparecidos—Read Music/Speak Spanish , Shania Twain—Up! , Joseph Arthur—Redemption’s Son , Sigur Ros—( ) , Norah Jones—Come Away With Me , Tori Amos—Scarlet’s Walk , Eminem—The Eminem Show , James Taylor—October Road , Johnny Cash—American IV: The Man Comes Around , Feel—Feel

Runaway Texans and (gasp!) George Will

Careless People In Power

I've been hearing from some corners that the fleeing of 11 Texas Democrats to New Mexico to avoid a complete overhaul of the Texas congressional districts--which would redraw the state and transform an evenly-divided delegation into a Republican-dominated one--is just as deplorable as recalling Gray Davis. I ran across this article by George Will--AKA the conservative uber-columnist--by accident, but it turns out the staunch GOP-er and I agree that both the recall and the Texas redistricting effort are signs of the end of any political civility and the beginning of perpetual campaigning. If we continue on this road, there will be no governing, no legislating--there will be only one campaign season after another, and power grabs after every election. I hope you'll read his column...there's much tinder for a roaring fire of a discussion.

How Many Rings Makes a Circus?

Yahoo! News - Democrats in Disarray After Arnie's Blockbuster

Well, California has proven to be a topic of interest for all of you, so I thought I'd post this article. When you get past the title--which reflects the truth, unfortunately--you'll find a hint of justice. Darrell Issa, the *$%#&^* who dreamed up the recall and spent $1.7 million of his own money on it in the hope that he could replace Gray Davis, wept like a baby today as he dropped out of the race. What goes around comes around...Issa wanted to sneak in and replace Davis after Davis went to the trouble of getting elected; now Schwarzenegger has decided he wants to be the governor instead, and Issa's money is all for naught.

By the way, does anyone else think the Democrats should just run Batman and Robin on EVERY channel the day before the election? I think a lot of California voters would get pretty cool on Arnold's candidacy while watching him deliver priceless gems like "I will blanket the city in endless winter" and "Tonight, hell freezes over!"

'Tolerance is the rice pudding of modern behavior'

Outside the Bright Lines

One of my two dream jobs would be to have Anna Quindlen's job: back-page columnist for Newsweek . She can write about almost anything she wants, she knows she has a wide audience, and every two weeks she gets another shot at it. Should I apply for her job? Do you think they're taking applications?

This week's column is pretty good, and especially heartwarming for me. Check it out.

Stalled Out

Here's a poll for all of you:

When you interview with a company twice, and both interviews seem to go well, and they check your references, who report that the conversations were both long and overwhelmingly positive, and the company tells you--more than a week later, at the time that they said they would give you a yes or no answer--that you're still being considered, but they'll be interviewing additional candidates next week, is this:
A) Good news: At least you still have a shot
B) Bad news: They're playing games with you and using you as a backup
C) Terrible news: You're still in the running, but they obviously aren't over the moon for you or they wouldn't be bringing in more people more than a month after inviting you to interview.
D) Even worse news: You're barely in the running for a job at a company that isn't excited enough about working with you to hire you without searching high and low for someone else first, and they don't keep their promises to contact you and keep you up-to-date about your status to boot.

Obviously it's a bitter day for me. I really thought this job was mine--everything went well, I was qualified, and I know I "clicked" with at least one of the people I met with during the interviewing process. It even sounded like a fun job! Now, even if they DO end up hiring me, I know there will be, at least at the start, a slightly bad taste in my mouth from the drawn-out process that I went through to get the job.

So here's another poll: Blockbuster or McDonald's? Where should I go beg for a part-time job?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Thanks All Around

Thanks to everyone who has visited today. You made an unemployed loser feel good about himself for a day!

Thanks especially to Matt Warfel, who had dinner with me tonight--and paid! I think I ate too much Caramel Pecan pie...

And thanks, of course, to people who made comments about content here. Just a note: If I respond to your comments, as I did to the ones about Gray Davis, I'll do it in the same comment string. So if you're curious about how I respond, check there.

Random overheard statement of the day: "Guns are what make America great." --the man at the next booth at Baker's Square, who also blamed police for 9-11 and Bill Clinton for everything else, and who made the interesting fashion choice of cordovan loafers and knee-high black socks with a pair of dark green cargo shorts and a pale heathered green t-shirt. To his credit, he did know the phrasing of the Second Amendment--all 27 words--by heart.

Music Update

Today, while I work on some freelance writing, I'm listening to the 14 albums listed below. So far I've determined a pretty definite top four: Radiohead, Kathleen Edwards, White Stripes, and Fountains of Wayne. Fleetwood Mac is holding up surprisingly well, too...

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

CDs 2003

With more than seven months gone, it's time to start thinking about the candidates for the 2003 top ten albums list. The following 14 CDs represent the contenders (greatest hits albums aren't considered):
Kathleen Edwards, Failer
Everclear, Slow Motion Daydream
Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will
Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers
The Jayhawks, Rainy Day Music
Liz Phair, Liz Phair
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
The Thorns, The Thorns
Train, My Private Nation
The White Stripes, Elephant
Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears
Robbie Williams, Escapology (US version)
Pete Yorn, Day I Forgot
Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea

Please, let me know what albums I've missed this year. Maybe tomorrow I'll post 2002's revised top 20.


Comments should now be working. Fire away!

Playing the Waiting Game

Chicago Tribune | Hire me already!

If you're looking for a job right now, you'll be able to relate to this article. I've been in the "process" with one company for five and a half weeks now...and the decision that I expected to hear at the end of the week before last somehow hasn't yet been made. Two interviews, references have been checked extensively--what are they waiting for?

Undoing Democracy

Yahoo! News - Labor Group Backs Davis in Calif. Recall

The above link leads to one of the hundreds of articles published on a daily basis regarding the upcoming California recall election. Despite all the media attention the election has been getting, it doesn't appear to strike a chord with people here in the Midwest. Granted, Gray Davis is not our governor. But the deliberate effort to subvert the democratic process--and the willingness to rerun an election over and over, at great expense to taxpayers, until the desired result is obtained--seems not to disturb the American public. Davis may not be popular. He may be doing a terrible job--or he may be faced with problems that no governor can fix as quickly as the electorate would like. Either way, he was ELECTED less than a year ago. The people of California made their choice, and part of the beauty of democracy is that, for several years following an election, a leader can govern based on what he or she thinks is right rather than tailoring every stance and action to the latest polling data. Efforts like this recall will suck away the last vestiges of courage in our nation's political leaders. We should all think twice about what the California recall election really means, whether we live there or not.

Master of My Domain

Eventually it was bound to happen. It's been two years since my last newspaper column ran--two years since I've published my thoughts about the world. It's time to come out of hiding.

I chose today because I wanted to write about the smear campaign in the Episcopal church. This sort of cheap trickery shows us just how we should expect the far right will behave to achieve its aims. I hope the rapid investigation and clearing of all charges sends a strong signal to people who think they can block every gay man who tries to excel from success by throwing up abuse charges.