"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, January 06, 2006

the rules

Rule No. 10 Actors are short. Comedians are shorter.
Rule No. 11 There is nothing that can be marketed that cannot be better marketed using the voice of James Earl Jones
Rule No. 12 No talking at the urinal.
Rule No. 13 The team mascot sleeps alone.
Rule No. 14. White cars look good only on Fantasy Island
Rule No. 15. Though jazz and brunch are acceptable when separated, the two should never be combined.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In yer ear
Kevin Wood / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
The Greatest
P-Vine, 2,415 yen

The latest from the enigmatic and dramatic Chan Marshall shows the singer-songwriter moving forward into the past artistically, with The Greatest taking some cues from classic Memphis soul.
Marshall is backed here by longtime Al Green guitarist "Teenie" Hodges and a host of Memphis studio aces. While the somber title track and several others, notably "Willie" and "Where is My Love" could easily have come from previous Cat Power albums, others such as "Could We" and the catchy "Living Proof" kick up the power and the tempo a notch with the aid of funky strings and Stax-Volt style horns.
While the Memphis soul trappings are a slight departure, the songs are pure Cat Power--built on slow, simple, repetitive progressions and packing an emotional wallop. Another constant is Marshall's unmistakable voice. Equal parts plaintive, dreamy, soulful and sweet, Marshall has sufficient power to launch a song into the heavens, with just enough earthy huskiness to keep her feet on the ground. Her songs are intimate and raw without ever being rough; textured and polished without a hint of slickness.

Kicking Television
Warner Music 3,570 yen
Wilco manage to capture the mercurial spark of the their previous two studio outings, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born, on this two-disc 23-track live album recorded last year in Chicago. A few other, older songs, such as Summerteeth's "Via Chicago" and a cover of '70s funkster Charles Wright's "Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)" make the set list, but for the most part the amalgam of pop, punk, avant-garde electronica and dissonant guitar rock seems to be where the band is at these days.
Wilco's resident auteur and frontman Jeff Tweedy isn't much for stage banter, preferring to let his guitar do his talking. The exacting songs from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot such as "Ashes of American Flags" are given freer rein and short pop poems from Ghost such as "The Late Greats" and "Handshake Drugs" are fleshed out and given room to run free.
Sonically, the album covers the waterfront, ranging from roaring guitar feedback to buzzing, bleeping synths to sweet, Beatlesque piano. Live shows Wilco at the top of its game and makes a good case for marking them down as the best band on the U.S. rock scene today.

Newport Folk Festival
Video Arts Music, 4,935 yen
Murray Lerner's chronicle of the pre-hippie heyday of the Newport Folk Festival from 1963 to 1965--including the day Bob Dylan went electric--this 90-minute black-and-white documentary is by turns inspiring, compelling and frustrating.
It's inspiring in that it showcases a staggering array of talent ranging from a woman playing "Turkey in the Straw" on her cheeks to the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Judy Collins in their prime. The compelling discourse on the blues by Son House and Mike Bloomfield combined with hypnotic performances by Howlin' Wolf and Mississippi John Hurt is worth the price of the DVD alone.
Frustratingly, not one of the dozens of performances recorded are shown in their entirety, with director Lerner giving us a teasing glimpse of the banquet without letting us sit down to eat--Dylan's paradigm shift to electric rock is represented by only a single verse of "Maggie's Farm." Festival is an excellent appetizer, but it leaves the viewer ravenous for more.
(Jan. 5, 2006)

Clap harder
Sisyphus Shrugged does the heavy lifting so I don't have to, but you really should read about the astounding success in Iraq

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Land of the Free
I love the General (in a strictly manly hetrosexual way of course) for his relentless war on born again Christian hypocrisy and the many angry laughs he has provided. But this just isn't funny. And the first one to mention breaking eggs to make omlets wins a boot in the plums. A salute to Jesus' General for his fine work.

Get rich quick!
A guy could make a million bucks today if he had the Congressional dry cleaning consession, because an awful lot of people are going to need a change of pants

Monday, January 02, 2006

Somewhere, Pierre Trudeau is smiling
I guess this explains why the Conservatives are in bed with the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Another ex-Reform Party reactionary shows his true colours.

Tory campaign manager resigns over web posting
Internet remarks threatened push for Alberta separation

Archie McLean
CanWest News service
Published: Sunday, January 01, 2006

Edmonton Conservative MP Peter Goldring's campaign manager resigned Friday over comments he posted on an Internet message board that suggest local Conservatives will start working toward Alberta separation if the Liberal party is re-elected.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The President said "We do not tortiere"
Which is his tough luck really. Here in the Woodshed, we tortiere every New Year's. You can take the hoser out of Canada, but you can't take the Canuck out of the hoser, or something like that.

My recipie for this typical French Canadien holiday dish is pretty simple.

750 grams/1.5 pounds of ground pork or ground pork and beef
One large onion diced
ground cloves one teaspoon
two or three dashes cinnamon and nutmeg and red pepper
worstershire sauce one teaspoon
two small potatoes, mashed
Bisto gravy starch, one teaspoon
garlic, one piece, chopped fine or crushed
salt and pepper

Brown the meat, onion and garlic in a pan on medium heat. Add spices, potato and three quarters of a cup of water, bring to a boil. Add gravy starch premixed with a quarter cup of water. Reduce on low heat until most of the gravy is very thick.

follow the recipie on a crisco shortening can to make a pie using the above mixture for filling. Bake for about 40 minutes at 425 F or 220 C
Serve with steak sauce or gravy.

Goes well with heavy ales or a hearty burgundy. Great as leftovers

More New Year's Stuff

Gate latern at the local shrine. The tree behind it is more than 350 years old.

The lovely Hiromi, also known as Mrs. the Rev. Paperboy

Lucy and I after returning from the shrine. The big pink bag is cotton candy purchased just outside the gates from a street vendor. It was that or octopus ball - trust me, don't ask.

Hiromi and Lucy

New Year's Day
Here in Tokyo, people go to Shinto shrines at New Year - Meiji jingu, one of the largest in the center of Tokyo gets about 4-5 million people on New Year's eve alone, which means standing in line for a long, long time. We went to the local shrine in Urayasu and still stood in line for about 30 minutes

People write their wishes and prayers on these slips of paper and prayer boards and tie them here. Later, the priests will burn them in a special ceremony.

The kids and I in full kimono ---stylish but not built for warmth

Nick in front of the shrine fountain. Before you pray, you have to wash your hands and rinse your mouth.

A smaller side shrine adjacent to the main one.

The main shrine. When you get up to the ribbons, you toss your offering in a box - 5, 50 or 500 yen coins preferred for good luck --ring the bell to get the gods attention, bow twice, clap twice, pray, bow and make room for the next pilgrim

Happy New Year