Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Welcome to Tobb Weder

New blogger here at Kenwoode: big welcome to Tobb Weder!

(Golf claps all around)

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Finally posted the latest couple of Kenwoode pages. You can check ’em out here and here.

“Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap.” – Samuel Beckett, Endgame

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I don’t follow college ball, mostly because I went to art school, and I don’t have an alma mater team, unless there’s a World Champion Thunderdome of Chiaroscuro or Font Kerning of which I am unaware, where you’re allowed to use a color wheel, linseed oil and a mace. (The Color-arnage!) I do, however, follow the NBA like a sterilizing rash I need to keep an eye on, lest it flare up and destroy my swimmers.

My team, the T-Wolves, is, well, agonizingly bad despite a potentially encouraging future (possible Ricky Rubio, 217 draft picks this year, Kevin Love, and an improving Corey Brewer.). And despite the fact that David Stern is, well, a wretched person (2007 Suns-Spurs debacle; the New York Ewing crapfest; the 2006 NBA Finals screw-job against Dallas- and I hate Dallas, but they were HOSED by the officials. Don’t believe me? Do a Google search for “2006 NBA Finals.” What’s the 2nd and third choices? Smoke there’s fire, son), I keep getting drawn in like a tubby kid passing Cold Stone Creamery.

I also always check out Canis Hoopus (weird, unhealthy Darko-mania indeed), the T-Wolves fan blog that has like, 20 guys on it that are either basketball savants, or they work in mind-numbingly boring jobs in Minneapolis skyways and have nothing better to do than run complicated algorithms on Evan Turner vs. John Wall. Most likely a combination of the two. Not that I’m complaining- I love the site. Makes me feel like I’m still ice-fishing instead of cursing a blue-streak at L.A. drivers. But it can be discouraging: “Yeah, I follow ball a bit.” No, you don’t, dood. Not like these guys do.

The point is this: because of the Hoopus guys salivating over the chance that the Wolves get the number one pick (we won’t- we’re McHaled- the new synonym for “doomed”) and running the numbers on Ohio State’s Evan Tuner, I was introduced to one Mark Titus, Pine-Rider Extraordinaire.

Check the style, one-time:

(Warrant song is great, but it could use a “Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away” third chorus key-change to elevate it to Code Awesome.)

Mark’s blog ‘n charity here. Buy a t-shirt. Help some kids, dammit.

KENWOODE UPDATE: Been quite the slug in 2010, I know. Just moved, had some freelance illustration to finish, and I’m finally settling down. I really do have finished pages to post, so I’ll be doing that this weekend. Promise. (Takes shot of tequila)

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Just watched Brett Gaylor’s Rip! A Remix Manifesto on Hulu last night. I’m actually shocked that NBC, Fox and ABC (Disney) would have this online, in this format; despite its lionization of Disney the Man, Disney the Company is really taken to task here. Maybe it’s the “if we join them, they will disappear” belief. Or maybe they (Los Corporations Grandes) figure the animals have already left the zoo, and they can’t stop it, exhibited by their mere acceptance of Hulu as a business model. Don’t know.

What I do know is that the film is pretty damn good. I’ve been loosely paying attention to these issues since the U2 vs. Negativland debacle in the early nineties, which really made U2 look backwards at a time when they were actually creating some pretty forwards-looking music. I think Negativland would have looked a bit more serious if they hadn’t included the cover, which is pretty much a giant “U2” over a much smaller “Negativland.” You can claim “culture jamming” all you want, but when you transparently are looking for huge sales by being cheeky, I understand Island’s concern. Maybe not the legal overreaction, but the concern is valid.

(I also think Greg Ginn’s re-release with Negativ(e)land: Live on Tour album on SST is about as brilliant a response as possible- Negativland may have posed and said, “EXACTLY! That’s what we’re talking about!” but the loss of their “intellectual property” and the realization of Ginn’s masterful chess move must have stung a little.)

Regardless, I think Rip! and Girl Talk (the “band” that Gaylor champions- those quotes are not sarcastic, it’s actually one guy) are completely necessary right now, and Girl Talk to me is more of an idea than an actual band. (Much like The Sex Pistols are a better idea than a band- Never Mind the Bollocks… is a pretty good album, but it’s a better call-to-arms. The Clash were 10 times the band the Pistols were.) I love the idea of “everything is fair game, ’cause we’re all the same person” and I think the spirit of Girl Talk is much more interesting than the actual music- I listen to the songs and think, “That’s interesting,” but there’s an aspect of it (to me) that seems like a novelty. It’s not the music that’s important, it’s the crowd’s reaction to said music- much like the Pistols, it’s the movement that’s the star. And I think Girl Talk completely understands that.


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Just finished up Page 5, inked a panel for Page 6 last night. Feeling good, Louis! KenwoodePanel08_01

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grand ole' party!

grand ole' party!

Here’s another one from McNaughton. The amount of historical ignorance at play here is like hot garbage.

For some odd reason I am personally offended at the inclusion of Lincoln in with this band of valueless twats. Any reference to ‘The Party of Lincoln’ by the contemporary Republican party is tantamount to a lie — as if Lincoln and today’s Republicans are part of any sort of contiguous ideological thread. It completely overlooks the great reversal of the 30’s and the development of the Southern Strategy. It’s like saying, “Dr. Jekyll MUST agree with the practices of rape and manslaughter — he shares a ripped tweed jacket with Hyde, DOES HE NOT???”

The gathering depicted would actually make for an interesting conversation, ala “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” Of course, there’s the issue of where in the McNamarian arc of personal growth and regret each of these guys would land.

Depending on when in his life the Eisenhauer depicted hails from, I’m pretty certain Dwight David would be scowling at some things the rest of the gang might be saying. Not that all of them would be in the same part of the same page either — Reagan the charismatic naif, Bush Sr the former head of the CIA (& probably not naive about very much at all),  and Teddy the lusty warmonger. Nixon, legendarily bitter, mendacious, and socially awkward. Could HW Bush resist piping in with a mouth full of pretzels? (I confess to having not even a caricature of Gerald Ford to draw on.)

Nonetheless, I think Bush Sr’s post-presidency activity allows for the inference that *perhaps* he has reconsidered the impact of his life’s work. But without question, Lincoln — with his pained conscience and his talk of ‘the angels of our better natures’ — would have found the company of these men repellent.

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This is a fine piece of modern deist illustration that turned into mock-fodder for the liberal blogosphere.

First is the boingboing post, with some pretty funny, informed, and cutting remarks (image is link):

a trashy portrait of American mysticism

a pretty piece of p0rn

Here’s the work on McNaughton’s site, with his defensive rebuttal to his critics, but more importantly, the unintentional hilarity of his rollover descriptions of each figure in the painting.

And finally, here is the subversive hack of said rollover captions by Short Packed.

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This song almost sounds like an outtake from The Damned’s Anything album (not one of their critical faves, but I loved it). Huge reverbs, poppy and to the effin’ point, man. Nicely done.

And the video is really beautiful: organic, lush, and the amount of depth is really staggering. It’s a nice Gorey homage without seeming like a rip-off. This scene with the spirits reminds me of a children’s book on ghost stories I used to have; man, I wish I knew the title of that book.

Picture 1

Hats off to Mr. Timms. Hire him and pay him lots of money, Hollywood! Now!

Dammit you hacks!

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Wired has a great little article from March about Brian Eno’s art school days here. A couple of things struck me about the article:

  • The deliberate introduction of randomness in Brian Eno’s life, and the idea of changing artistic and social roles to facilitate new and interesting art. Eno’s art professors would have the students assume characters that were out of their comfort zone, to elicit reactions that were of them “playing a role.” Much like the old Oscar Wilde quote (“Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth”), if you give students a mask or role to play, they’ll create new, “true” art, that is, true to the role they’re playing.
    Reminds me of Prince and Tom Waits adopting characters to get themselves out of their rote songwriting modes. Also reminds me of long-form improv training, of getting yourself “out of your head” and comfort zone to spur yourself to new risk taking.
  • How much this pointed Eno in the direction of Oblique Strategies, which is a great tool for breaking yourself out of artistic ruts. (Great PDF of printable cards here.)

I had a great instructor in art school (“You want fries with that?”) who used to tell us, “You’re only doing your job as a creative if you are constantly on the verge of getting fired.” Which seemed imminently true to me at the time- the profs who were safe, and needed their jobs had the worst work. The ones who were devil-make-care were actually  selling work and working at ad agencies, rather than writing bullshit artspeak proposals for federal grants.

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Just a quick note on progress: I’m about 5 pages from finishing the first draft of the Kenwoode II screenplay. Got some illustrating done this weekend, and I’ll have a few panels to post this week.

Picture 1

Just saw Kung Fu Panda. The opening dream sequence with the cut-out paper style is staggering. Dreamworks really stepped up their game. I could make a snarky reference to Sharktale here, but- well, you know. Overall, really solid.

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russ01I was trying out my new Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen the other night (Righteous, BTW), and drew and inked a study of Russ Nicholson’s fantastic front illustration to the original Fiend Folio (seen here, pencil marks and all). You know, the one with the great black and white illustrations, rather than the full color, super-hero-y bullshit that TSR started putting out after the First Editions.

Man, I’m old school about my monster drawings. I loved Russ Nicholson- he was part Gahan Wilson, part Gerald Scarfe, part Shel Silverstein. His creatures always had a comic menace to them, as if they would crack wise whilst slitting your throat. His ink work is so organic, and although there’s so much mark-making, it never feels busy to me.

I also loved Dave Trampier, Erol Otus, Jeff Dee, Jim Roslof (at times), and Bill Willingham (also at times). Trampier’s Wormy was amazing, and Otus’ stuff was weird to me as a kid, but I find it stuck with me in an odd way. I’d love to see a collection of this stuff, besides the horrible scans from old, dying websites.

So Russ, if you’re out there, you should really put up an official website. I’d love to see either an online collection of your work, or a book (which I’d most definitely buy). And Erol, you’re website has been promising to come into view “in the near future” for far too long. Come ON, man!

(If anyone has any leads where I can find any of these collections, I’d appreciate it.)

UPDATE: By the way, I do commissions. If anyone wants me to either draw and ink them an illustration, let me know. We’ll work out the price.

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Nice interview by Frenchman Geoff Boucher at the LA Times. P-Jack talks about Neill Blomkamp’s terrible “first film experience” with Halo falling apart, and how they dealt with it:

We don’t own the ‘Halo’ franchise. We can’t raise the money somewhere else. It’s their property, they’ve got the license for it. So the way to avoid this [happening again] is to do something original, to do it at a lower budget, finance it independently, and not finance it through a studio. You know, there are ways of avoiding it. We came up with the idea for ‘District 9.’

Between this and the video below of Peter Jackson discussing turning in a draft of The Hobbit, it’s truly stunning to me that a man who basically made 3.5 BILLION DOLLARS (for the LOTR films and King Kong) still has to get script approval. He won Best Director Oscar. He still has to get studio notes? That seems… what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Ludicrously asinine.

If I’m handling money for a studio, and someone says, “Peter Jackson wants to make a movie about cannibal panda bears who shoot acid out of their butts,” I say, “Sweet. Here’s 200 million. Tell him to have fun.”

(BTW, I’ve copyrighted “Cannibal Panda Bears That Shoot Acid Out Their Butts.” Just try me, punk. My lawyers pounce like starving cheetahs.)

District 9 trailer here.

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I love this song. Made better by the drunken German sing-along, and the key-change Kirsty MacColl final lyric:

Here’s a nice little concert mash-up with Kate Nash:

And here’s Billy on the Henry Rollins Show, singing Waiting for the Great Leap Forward (with the great spot-on observation about Mtv’s absolute irrelevance):

I’ll go into Levi Stubb’s Tears at a later date; probably in my top twenty favorite songs of all time. I was just in a Mr. Love n’ Justice mood today.

KENWOODE UPDATE: In the middle of doing rewrites on the screenplay. The good news is there is real interest; I can’t really go into it right now. But I promise I’ll post a few new panels this weekend, taking into account a new work-flow (or actual work) “process” from Carl and myself called, “Getting Off Our Lazy Asses.”

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From John Campbell’s web comic, Pictures for Sad Children.Famous

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Rumors and outright slander must be addressed:

1. Loving Big Country is all-but-impossible to do purely. I would contend that it’s difficult to love any album produced in the 80’s without acknowledging the production sounds incredibly dated. I think Steve Lillywhite is an amazing producer, but echo and reverb on every single track is still echo and reverb on every single track.

That being said, I still think “The Crossing” is a great album, and a perfect time capsule. Stuart Adamson had one of my favorite voices ever.

2. I havered in a Edinburgh pub bathroom once. Unlike Carl, I’ve actually been to Scotland.

3. The GI Joe cartoon was awful. You should be more angry your parents let you watch such transparent marketing tripe. It was a 30 minute toy commercial. It was “He-Man” bad. It was “Smurfs” bad.

4. I never hated Del Amitri. “Nothing Ever Happens” is fantastic. So is “Be My Downfall” and “Driving with the Brakes On.” It’s the “Roll To Me” and “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”s that don’t do it for me. Justin Currie’s a hell of a songwriter.

5. I am of more Irish descent than Scottish. But even the wee bit of Scots I am is more than Carl’s muddy genetic history.

This is will concede shamefully: today was the first I had ever heard of Ivo Cutler. Is he related to Jake Cutler? It would explain a lot.

Ah. Feel better. Back to discussing ideas, rather than judo-ing red herrings.

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From my new favorite blog, Everything is Terrible:

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Andrew Sullivan’s coverage of the Iranian “election” debacle and the subsequent protests and fascist crackdown by the Revolutionary Guard has been truly admirable. Something is happening in Iran, indeed.

You can’t force democracy down the barrel of a gun, the way the Neocons think. All this weekend, as all hell is breaking loose in Iran, I’ve had a line from Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” running through my head:

You can blow out a candle/But you can’t blow out a fire/Once the flame begins to catch/The wind will blow it higher.

There are young people in Iran (and all over the world) who are sick of the tyranny of old ideas, who want to be part of something hopeful, not repressive and brutal. While we’re worried about whether Adam Lambert is gay or indulging Sarah Palin’s shameless mock outrage at Letterman, people like this are fighting for their lives and freedom in Tehran.

One wonders if this was Obama’s long game: to engage the hopeful, and young, and through his Middle East address present them with a choice of continued submission to tyranny, or to forge their own future, much as the USA has done. “May you live in interesting times.” It doesn’t get much more interesting, y’all.

I wholeheartedly suggest following Andrew’s blog as well as Huffington Post’s coverage. It’s not as if Fox is gonna cover it; they’re too busy praying to God that Obama fails. Party first, country last, right guys?

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I haven’t been watching the Finals, as I was so discouraged by the Nuggets going out like lambs in the Western Conference Finals. And really, it was enough for me that the Magic made it rather than the Cavs. I’ll take it.

And I only watched the second quarter last night; apparently I missed a hellova game. Tuned in, saw the Magic was down 5, did the math: “Ok, they’re in LA, they won’t get the calls anyway, going to the gym. At least no one will be there.”

And so here is Bill Simmons masterful dismantling of last night’s game. Now, I didn’t watch the game. I’ve watched enough Lakers playoff games to know that the officials repeatedly hand them games. It’s really disgusting. Simmons has a great meter, his “Super-Dubious Foul Crunch-Time Scoreboard” which ends up with Orlando getting 10 dubious calls to LA’s one. Let’s subtract 50% Simmon’s Celtic bias, and you still have 5 to one wretched officiating. Glad I didn’t waste any time on it.

Some other great Simmon’s points- On NBA players whining:

Here’s my question: Are NBA players in denial when they commit fouls, or did they make a secret pact to complain after every foul and anyone who doesn’t will be made an outcast by the other players? I know the refs are bad, but holy crap — when’s the last non-Brian Scalabrine time you saw someone commit a foul in an NBA game and then admit that he did it?

On the ABC exploitative abomination, Wipeout:

I wish I could buy stock in things like, “A ‘Wipeout’ contestant will sue ABC for $100 million after getting seriously injured.”

On Kobe shooting in triple-coverage versus dishing out:

Funniest moment of the game: Kobe storms back to the bench, whacks the chair in disgust and sits down as Phil Jackson (already sitting) looks at him with a bemused, “Should I point out to him that MJ absolutely would have passed there?” smile on his face. Classic.

Anyway, the whole article’s pretty spot-on. I’m not gonna rip off the whole thing. Check it out.

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Just ask him. He has the unmitigated gall to challenge journalistic baddass Michael Ware who’s lived in Iraq for SIX YEARS, and just parrots the “threw them under the bus” bullshit GOP talking point again. Ware’s been in war zones for years, and this punk even tries to throw his resume against Ware’s?

Thiessen returns to the weasel-y “I was in the Pentagon on 9-11.” Are you kidding? This is your chickenhawk defense? You were a Bush speechwriter. You’re culpable.

Some days I can’t even deal with the toads trying to cover their master’s tracks. When Thiessen tries to jump on Ware’s affectionate Aussie “boys and girls” characterization, aggressively stating, “They aren’t boys and girls! They are heroes!” he sounds like Will Farrell in that old SNL sketch with the passive aggressive dad: “I drive a Dodge Stratus! I drive a Dodge Stratus!” Of course Ware knows they’re heroes. He’s been in foxholes with them for six years, you idiot.

Lastly(and this is a bit unfair, but oh well), why are all the NeoCons so doughy? One has only to look at the two vastly different men to see the extreme differences in their experience: Thiessen: manicured, clenched, suited, powdered, sputtering, scolding. I doubt he’s ever had a callus. Ware: somewhat haunted, unkept, relaxed, laughs easily (not desperately), moves in and out of camera as it suits him. It’s all there on the screen.

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I was discussing writing with a friend of mine, and thought about a quote I heard one time: “Writing is revenge.” I looked it up, and although I couldn’t find it, I did find a couple of other great ones:

The best revenge is not to become like the one who wronged you.
-Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations

what sweeter revenge against this world & its injuries
could you imagine than lounging in bed with the one
you love?….I think most men are like me in this regard.
-sean elder

The grudge you hold on to is like a hot coal that you intend to throw at someone, only you’re the one who gets burned.

-Siddhartha Gautama

What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
-John Milton, Paradise Lost. Book i. Line 105.

Courage never to submit or yield. That’s so incredibly Braveheart-baddass. I can hear Sir Galahad from the Python’s Holy Grail:

Sir Galahad: Couldn’t I just submit for a little while, and then I’ll get back to the immortal hating and the unconquerable willing?

Sir Lancelot: No. Back to work. What part of ‘Never’ are you having trouble with?

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Some pretty salient points on the “Drug War,” and absolutely spot-on in his critique of Capitalism as Social Framework:

David Simon:

Capitalism is a wonderful engine, but how we mistook it for a social framework for how to build a just society and interpreted it that way is just incredible.

There’s also a couple of great points on Overtime, which is the internet-only after thought:

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I will always be proud of my vote for Jesse Ventura for Minnesota Governor, despite a number of  topics on which I disagree with him. Just fearless:

UPDATES: Here’s Jesse taking on Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s talking points:

And obliterating Sean “Chicken Hawk” Hannity:

He’s a one-man wrecking crew. Going from show to show to show just owning the talking heads. Truly admirable.

It’s amazing how Hannity sputters, and just realizes that he’s arguing with a man that could defeat him honestly, intellectually, and (if he had to) physically. Jesse’s just laughing at him and his silliness.

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Nice little article by Abrams in Wired. His point about discovering music is spot on:

But wait, you say, iTunes gives you the chance to browse! To that I nod, concede the point, and say, “Bullshit.” Those little icons you scroll past mean almost nothing to most of us. Why? Because we didn’t get on the train, brave the weather, bump into strangers, and hear music we didn’t choose. In other words, we didn’t earn the right to casually scan those wooden bins. Lately I go to Amoeba Music in Hollywood just to watch people flip through albums. It’s a lost art.

Still not feeling the new Star Trek, though. It just looks so… exxxtreme, brah. Like it was a retrofitted Chronicles of Riddick script. And Kirk just looks so…pretty.

I’m being hideously unfair, but isn’t that what blogs are for? Snarky, uninformed opinions, with no regard for fairness whatsoever?

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Norman Chad has a spot-on article over at SI (despite the cringe-inducing, fish-in-a-barrel Amy Winehouse joke), about how we (New York specifically, but the USA as a country) will toss any amount of money at sports stadiums. About how our society crumbles while we entertain ourselves. I truly believe that the next bubble to burst is gonna be sports: players salaries, plummeting attendance, etc.


One of the things I’ve always been proud of about the Twin Cities is that they generally told blackmailing sports owners to go to hell regarding public funds for their proposed sports arenas. (“You’re gonna leave? Good. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”) That changed because of two things, I believe:

  1. Norm Green stealing the North Stars and bringing them to Dallas, and a state where hockey is a birthright (like killing wolves in Sparta) didn’t have a professional hockey team. For years.
  2. People traveling to other cities and watching baseball outside (and the St. Paul Saints outside as well), then thinking, “Jesus, I knew the Metrodome sucked, but I never knew just how much.

So I get the $522 million dollar ballpark. I just hope the incinerator being basically next door doesn’t give the fans chronic lung problems just ’cause they enjoy baseball outdoors.

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She comes back to tell me she’s gone
As if I didn’t know that
As if I didn’t know my own bed
As if I’d never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead

The above stanza is probably my favorite song lyric of all time, from Paul Simon‘s Graceland. Some friends and I were having a discussion last night about musical genius vs. songwriting genius (details for another post), and I thought about this lyric again.

It really has it all- the scalpel precision of Simon’s devastated protagonist and his heartbreak, recognizing his ex-lover’s petty need to remind him she no longer loves him, and the tenderness of his memories despite her unwitting cruelness. And Simon just reels lines like these off all the time; they’re as common to him as inappropriately brutal guitar solos are to CC Deville.

It’s the sublime, less snarky version of “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?” (which is a kick-ass song title, by the way.)

And the second half of this verse is almost as good as the first:

And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

A lesser songwriter would repeat the “blown apart” line. Simon, in his Zen-like restraint, turns a selfish “poor me” moment into a Haiku meditation: “Everybody sees the wind blow…” and follows it with the hopeful chorus, “…in Graceland.” Graceland as Heaven, Graceland as refuge, Graceland as meditation of why he started writing songs in the first place.

I’m in awe of that album in general, and Paul Simon in particular. And don’t even get me started on The Rhythm of the Saints, which I like even more than Graceland, if possible.

(This might be a cool little feature: “Favorite Song Lyrics.” Carl? Thoughts? Carl?

Dammit, Carl, pay attention!)

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Here’s a clip from Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s great tv series, Long Way Down. They rode from SCOTLAND TO THE TIP OF SOUTH AFRICA in 2007. Yes. You heard me.

Tre’ baddass, and highly recommended, if you like travel, motorcycles, or both.

Some people want to be rich. Some want to frolic with supermodels. Some want to be famous. Me? I just want to go on an 18-country, sponsored motorcycle ride with Ewan and Charlie. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

And the frolicking, of course.

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Here’s a great little interview by Digg founder Kevin Rose, who posed questions to Trent that were voted on by Digg. Trent discusses a number of things, including the myopic business model and view of Old Media, theories on musical monetization, and his views on the future of 3D, film, and video games. I found the whole thing really interesting.

Jon Brion on Trent’s purported way of working in the studio:

Here’s something else you can try: I heard that when Trent Reznor starts a project, he makes a list of things you’re supposed to do, such as eighth-note tambourine on the chorus and chorus bigger than verse. The list gets posted in the studio, and you’re not allowed to do any of those things. That’s a great way of working.

The whole Brion interview is here.

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While doing some research on Mohammed Unis and microfinance (meaning, I took two seconds and did a Google search- I love how “research” has become “bare-minimum investigation”), I stumbled across Kiva.Org:

Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

How awesome is that?

I truly wish there was a domestic version of this, something where I could be assured that my money was going to Katrina victims directly, or a sponsorship for students in impoverished US cities (I’m sure there’s a ton of people in Detroit right now that could use it).

If Kenwoode ever goes on to make any money, Kiva will be my charity of choice. And if Carl was any type of empathetic human being, he’ll join me. But I highly doubt it. ‘Cause he’s a jerk, you see.

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And this is why Transformers is all but unwatchable a second time through:

Tipped by Andrew Sullivan.

UPDATE: Found a quote (not cited, but hopefully it’s accurate) of Trey Parker’s spot-on assessment of the Michael Bay character arc:

“‘I’m fucking awesome! I’m fucking sweet! I … am … awesome.’ Then in the middle of the movie comes the point where ‘maybe I’m not so awesome,’ and then in the end he’s like, ‘Nooo, I am. I am awesome.'”

How can you argue with that? Simply remember you’re awesome, and you shall become awesome again.

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There’s been a couple of songs in my life that made me have pull my car over to the side of the road. This is the first in a while.

Circa ’84 “No Surrender” Springsteen crossed with a little post-punk crossed with a little Cure. Add a dash of Cheap Trick. (That’s what it reminds me of, anyway. I’m sure the Gaslight Anthem guys would go, “Shut up. We’re us.”) I’m sold.

The same song rocking Letterman’s face:

“What’re you, the drummer? Good.”

Damn, but I’m a sucker for a hard-charging post-punk anthem. Too much Replacements, I guess.

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