Thursday, November 30, 2006

Arcade Fire Tells It Like It Is

Prefix reports that Arcade Fire will allow "Rebellion (Lies)" to be used in the Red Campaign to fight AIDS in Africa. This is a Bono project that invloves the Gap, American Express, and a bunch of other corporations and advertisements.

Totally un-Arcade Fire, right? Not really. Here's what Win Butler says on the band's web site: “We don’t give a fuck about the Gap or American Express, and we are in no way endorsing their products, but as long as scientists are developing drugs that you can give to a HIV positive mother and her newborn baby to help stop the transmission of AIDS to her child, the money could be coming from the devil for all I care, as long as people are getting the medication.”

I love it.

Jim James Redeems Pitchfork But The Decemberists Eff It Up Again

As part of Pitchfork's weekly "Guest Week" feature, My Morning Jacket's Jim James weighs in with a hilarious list of his favorite things. Best purchase: a Swatch. Best activity of the year: Cooking spinach and onions with a loved one. Classic.

For every yin there is a yang, however, and in this case, it's Colin Meloy and the Decemberists. He and Pitchfork ruin a totally good day by shamelessly indulging themselves in agit-prop lameness. Apparently, Stephen Colbert called The Decemberists out in his show last night. Now, the band is using Pitchfork as its forum to launch a "counterchallenge." Read about it here and roll your eyes while you vomit.

Top Ten Albums of 2006

by Ed Coleman

1. The Roots - Game Theory
2. My Morning Jacket - Okonokos
3. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
4. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elswhere
5. The Black Keys - Magic Potion (and also Chulahoma EP)
6. Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
7. Built to Spill - You In Reverse
8. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
9. Beck - The Information
10. Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World

Honorable Mention
Rocco Deluca - I Trust You to Kill Me
Dragonforce - Inhuman Rampage (it makes me laugh)
M. Ward - Post-War
Soul Position - Things Go Better With RJ and AL

This is subject to change since Mos Def's new cd comes out in a few weeks and he's always up there for me...

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins on the David Letterman Show

This chanteuse in one of my new favorites. Here, she sings "Big Guns" off her new album Rabbit Fur Coat. I'm pretty sure that's Conor Oberst playing guitar next to her, but I don't know who the big douchebucket next to him is. Seems like he's just there to clap.

In this week's Time Magazine, James Poniewozi's article "The Kramer in All of Us" offers an insightful analysis of Michael Richards racist meltdown at a comedy club in Los Angeles. He cites Richards' tirade, Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic gaffe, George Allen's "macacca" incident, and a host of other contemporary examples of newsworthy bigotry to assess the racist nature buried within us. His conclusion is: "Richards seemed to be going for that onstage: "It shocks you, to see what's buried beneath you!" Yet he was not entirely wrong--there is ugliness buried in people--and it's our responsibility as culture consumers to ask where he might be right."

I think this is an intriguing point - that racism in the public eye is a reflection of the inner-workings of our society.

However, I would take it one step further. Humans are racist by nature, true. Indeed, we have the Darwinist urge to categorize as a means of survival. What makes the contemporary zeitgeist different is that the "media" is there to broadcast it all. Remember, Michael Richards and George Allen were both caught on handheld camcorders. In no time at all, the videos were on the internet. Then, non-stop cable news picked up the stories and forced them onto our televisions.

As a species, we have always exhibited racism. Now, however, media saturation and constant documentation of human behavior are preventing our denial of it.

HCYB Top Ten Albums Acquired in 2006 But Not Released in 2006

10. Gang of Four - Entertainment (1979)
Entertainment is 12 songs of funk beat punk swagger, an album that invented the "post-punk" genre. With lyrics like "Watch new blood on the 18 inch screen/The corpse is a new personality/Guerilla war struggle is a new entertainment," these unabashed Socialists were rebels with a cause.

9. Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992 (1992)
The story behind this album is enough to render it a classic. Peter Buck of R.E.M. invited these inventors of "alt-country" to Athens to record an album at his house. While local producer John Keane (R.E.M, Widespread Panic) twiddled the knobs on the sound board, Uncle Tupelo recorded a collection of back porch folk songs about coal miners, booze, and Satan. Released the same year as Nirvana's Nevermind, this album bucked the grunge trend the way Dylan's John Wesley Harding bucked psychedelia when everyone else was trying to sound like Sgt. Pepper.

8. The Kinks - Give the People What They Want (1981)
I would say this is one of the greatest record covers of all time. Who is Ray Davies running from? I also love the grafitti. The songs are quality, too - perfectly encapsulating the transition from 1960s jangle to 1970s garage to 1980s punk. The Kinks could play it all.

7. The Last Poets - When the Revolution Comes (1970 and 1971)
This record is a compilation of the Last Poets first 2 albums: 'Last Poets' (1970) & 'This Is Madness' (1971). Their militant spoken-word chants pierce the air over sparse African drum-beats. These guys were the Chuck D and Zach de la Rocha of the 1970s and a precursor to angry, politically-charged hip hop. I first heard this record as I perused the highly entertaining literature in the Internationalist Bookstore, Chapel Hill's local supplier of anarchist, socialist, and revolutionary publications. It was a fitting soundtrack.

6. Tupac Shakur - 2Pac's Greatest Hits (1998)
My enchanting girlfriend gave me this album on vinyl. She had purchased it in middle school. Enough said.

5. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (1982)
The Boss recorded 10 heartachingly beautiful songs about the struggles of ordinary people. These minimalist folk songs - just Bruce, his acoustic guitar, and a 4-track in his living room - show the sad side of Ronald Reagan's United States.
4. Black Star - Black Star (1998)

This is Mos Def and Talib Kweli in their prime - before Mos found Hollywood and Talib found MTV. With no hooks and few melodies, this album is nothing but voices, beats, and a celebration of blackness. The name of the group refers to Marcus Garvey's failed cruise liner service, designed to transport all American blacks back to West Africa. Garvey was the inventor of Black Nationalism at the turn of the 20th Century, a supposed prophet in the Rastafarian religion, and an important leader (along with Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois) in pre-Civil-Rights-Movement black America. For a history buff like myself, this album title alone makes it great. The lyrics and vibe make it a classic.

3. Muddy Waters - Folk Singer (1964)

There is no feeling quite as satisfying as opening a brand new record, placing it in the car stereo, and driving down the highway - epecially when the record's Muddy Waters and the car stereo is your friend's with top-of-the-line speakers. Muddy's voice booms like a preacher's. This album, which also features Buddy Guy on guitar, is as classic a blues album as you could find. I could listen to Muddy sing all day about chasing short-skirted women, getting into trouble, and going South for the winter.

2. The Clash - Sandinista! (1980)
Joe Stummer, Paul Simonon, Mick Jones, and Topper Headen spewed out a triple-album's worth of material in a little more than a month. On this, their most eclectic record, the band began to explore hip hop with songs like "White Lightning" and "The Maginificent Seven." However, my favorite song is "Washington Bullets," a scathing critique of US foreign policy and CIA activity with pop sensibilities and a catchy chorus.

1. Zion I - True and Living (2005)
This album represents everything that is right with hip hop. Influenced heavily by Tribe Called Quest, Miles Davis, and Fred Hampton Jr., Bay-area rap group Zion I hits the nail on the head. Frequently backed by a live band, these guys spit criticism without hyperbole and make observations of the mundane seem profound. One great song is the "The Bay," a celebration of Oakland's smorgasbord of ethnic groups that also features the irresistible lyrics: "We claim Tupac as a source of pride." However, my favorite is "Doin' My Thang." It's one of the best songs I've heard all year.

Top Ten Albums of 2006

by Donald McIntosh

10. Professor Murder--Professor Murder Rides the Subway
It's just an EP, but these guys bring it. Favorite Song = Camron's New Color (Pt. 3)

9. The Blow--Paper Television
It's kinda cheesy and the lyrics are a bit suspect, but, in my opinion, this is what "pop" should sound like. Favorite Song = Eat Your Heart Up

8. The Black Keys--Chulahoma
Great to listen to while drinking alone, not that I would know. Favorite Song = My Mind is Rambling

7. Man Man--Six Demon Bag
Kinda sounds like what would happen if you handed instruments to some dudes at your local insane asylum, in a good way, though. Favorite Song = Engrish Bwudd

6. Hot Chip--The Warning
Some pretty eclectic, fun stuff. Favorite Song = The Warning

5. Liars--Drum's Not Dead
It's creepy, but it's worth all the angst to be saved by the last song. Favorite Song = The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack

4. Junior Boys--So This is Goodbye
It's just plain cool. Favorite Song = In the Morning

3. The Rapture--Pieces of the People We Love
Echoes is better, but this doesn't lag too far behind. Favorite Song = Whoo! Alright-Yeah..Uh Huh

2. Tapes n' Tapes--The Loon
It's nice to hear people still make music with guitars and drums. Favorite Song = 10 Gallon Ascots

1. The Knife--Silent Shout
For spring break I'm headed to Sweden to visit my sister. Mostly I can't wait to see The Knife and hang out with Swedish girls -- in that order, which should tell you everything. Favorite Song = We Share Our Mother's Health

Heels Knock Off #1 Buckeyes

God Bless Marcus Ginyard.

He and Danny Green helped the sluggish Tar Heels survive the first half against the shoot-the-lights-out Ohio State Buckeyes. Then, Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor, and Wayne Ellington led a second half charge to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and lead the Tar Heels to a 98-89 win over the Buckeyes.

Although Hansbrough played beasty with a career high 14 rebounds, Bobby Frasor followed back-to-back 3-pointers with a game-clinching, dive-on-the-floor steal, and Wayne Ellington scored 19 points on his 19th birthday, the real story here - in my humble opinion - was Marcus Ginyard. His defense and rebounding kept us from getting blown out in the first half, and they helped us run away with it in the second. Danny Green deserves similar credit, but last night was Marcus' night.

Get ready for another classic game on Saturday. The Kentucky Wildcats come to town, and the Heels look to make another national statement.

It's the most wonderful time of the year........

The Greatest College Basketball Player....EVER!!!

Greg Oden has not played a college game in his career. The 7-foot Ohio State freshman has been sidelined the entire season due to hand surgery.

This minor detail has not stopped ESPN from touting him as the best freshman in the country, or from comparing him to Ralph Sampson, Sam Perkins, or any other great college center.

I swear, during last night's UNC vs. Ohio State game, Dick Vitale and the other ESPN stooges must have mentioned Greg Oden 783 times. The Tar Heels dominated the Buckeyes in the 2nd Half, Wayne Ellington, Tyler Hansbrough, and a host of other Heels played excellent games, and the #1 team in the country lost. However, according to the commentators, the ONLY story of the game was how incredible of a player Greg Oden is.


The consensus among my game-watching crew was that ESPN is deliberately hyping Oden to cash in on his star potential. We're pretty sure that the producers of the game last night told the commentators to plug Greg Oden as frequently as possible. Holy crap that's annoying.

Frat Guys Are Such Idiots

It's been a helluva two weeks for the Sigma Chi House at UNC. Here's the play-by-play:

1. Frat hazes pledges.
2. Anonymous parent of pledge informs school of hazing.
3. School punishes frat for hazing.
4. School newspaper finds out about frat hazing.
5. Front page headline of school newspaper blares "Sigma Chi guilty on hazing charges."
6. Frat steals 10,000 school newspapers.
7. Statewide newspaper finds out about frat stealing 10,000 school newspapers.
8. Statewide newspaper headline blares "Frat takes 10,000 papers to conceal hazing charges."
9. Frat endures scandal that will define it for a decade.
10.Post-frat blogger revels in misfortunes of rival frat.

Frat, frat, frat - we love frats!

Click here for the Raleigh News and Observer article about the UNC Sigma Chi House.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another Top 10 List for 2006

by Tim Smith

I was just thinking about this today, wondering if I'd be able to dork out and provide another top ten list. May the tradition continue.

Top 10 albums, 200sizix:
1.Thom Yorke- The Eraser
2. Beck- The Information
3. TV on the Radio- Return to Cookie Mountain
4. Sonic Youth- Rather Ripped
5. M. Ward- Post War
6. My Morning Jacket- Okonokos
7. The Flaming Lips- At War with the Mystics
8.Phoenix- It\'s Never Been Like That
9. Built to Spill- You in Reverse (....on strength of 1st song alone)
10. Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere.... although I half expect 'crazy' to start blaring during Valtrex commercials, etc... during a kayaking/ jogging on the beach scene would make sense...

Honorable Mentions:
The Mars Volta- Amputechre (these guys have officially gone off the deep end to some sort of heroin induced darkside, but liked the album more than i thought it would at the end of the day)

Kevin Federline- Playing with Fire

Trail of Dead- So Divided...... haven't even listened to it yet, but even if it's a piece of crap, i feel obligated b/c of 'source tags and codes' might be terrible, who knows.

Girl Talk- Night Ripper

Biggest Disappointments:
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium--overall, bland, generic, doodoo.....double albums are never as good.... there are a couple of great songs, but totally lost interest

The Stills- Without Feathers - some of my friends like it- i loved their first album- but this shit is just terrible.

The Walkmen- can\'t remember the name...same story as the Stills... not nearly as bad, though

Top Albums of 2006 and not-2006

by Matt "Roundhouse" Healy

First off, I was hesitant to submit this to people in 2005, however, last year's lists introduced me to some of my favorite albums. I don't always subscribe 100% to the most current albums. So, my list will be a mixture of 1. Great 2006 albums; 2. Pretty good 2006 albums; 3. 2006 Albums I've heard, don't own, but like a lot (just don't want to lie and pretend like I have these); and 4. Albums that I have listened to the most that have nothing to do with 2006

Great 2006 Albums
1. Beck: The Information
-not his all time best, but definately worth having.
-"cell phone's dead" is badass
2. The Whigs: Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip
-very small band, friends of friends of many of the people on this list, went to UGA. Their first album, might be favorite album of the year actually
3. The Black Keys: Magic Potion
-every time I think that I'm going to get tired of their sound, they come out with something new that is the exact same as their previous albums, but are still really good.

Pretty Good 2006 Albums:
1. The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth
-very good, but doesn't compare to their first 2
2. T.I.: King
-it's no biggie, but a pretty damn good rap album
3. Ghostface Killah: Fishscale
-It's no Liquid Swords, Tical, or Cuban Linx but still good
4. Racontuers: Broken Boy Soldier
-No where near is good as the white stripes, in my opinion, but good
5. Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I am, that's what I'm not
-Lot's of hype, but still good

Albums I've heard, don't own, but like a lot:
1. Wolfmother
-basically Led Zepplin or Black Sabbath, which is fine by me
2. The Rapture: Pieces of the People We Love
3. Cold War Kids
4. Tapes N' Tapes: The Loon

Albums that I've listened to this year that have nothing to do with 2006:
*not that any of these are revelutionary recommendations, just saying this is what I've listened to a lot lately
1. Johnny Cash: Live from San Quentin
2. The Go! Team
3. Elliott Smith: Either/Or
4. The Beatles: Beatles for Sale
5. Velvet Underground: Velvet Underground
6. Neil Young: Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

HCYB Linkolicious

HCYB is a proud provider of cyberspace links. Enjoy:

  • The BBC reports "Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight."
  • The Charlotte Observer reports that a 4-year-old, dressed as a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, used a plastic sword to scare two thieves away from his house.
  • Slate discusses Nazism and the Bush Administration, highlighting the paradox that despite the Administration's increased consolidation of power, it is still inappropriate to reference the Third Reich.
  • writes a hilarious criticism of Kerrang Magazine for its Top 50 Punk Albums of All Time. According to Kerrang, Green Day, The Offspring, and Blink 182 all make the list. Prefix thinks such bullshit is a good reason for Kerrang to "throw in the towel."
  • USA Today reports that ringtones now outsell music downloads. Holy convergence!
  • Snopes reveals that the BBC headline about Cambodian midgets is a spoof. I'm sure a lot of people out there are disappointed.

Jim James is My Co-Pilot

Show Season, Finale - Part 2 of 2.
What a way to end it.
I knew that last night's My Morning Jacket show was going to exceed my expectations because, frankly, the band always does that. Why wouldn't they continue the trend?
At approximately 9:30 PM, the lights went down and on came the band, hidden behind a huge white curtain that covered the entire stage. As the staccato hook of "One Big Holiday" rang out, bright lights flashed from behind the curtain, casting shadows of the band upon the big white screen. All the audience could see was the band's headbanging silohuette. After 30 seconds, the drums kicked in and the curtain came crashing down. Commence rawk n roll.
My Morning Jacket played another impeccable show at the 930 Club. Although every song was worth the price of admission itself, my favorite part came about a third of the way into the set. After a shrieking "Wordless Chorus," they played the rarity "Phone Went West," a favorite that I've never heard live.
They played for 2 more hours before leaving the stage. Quickly, they returned for a saliva-inducing encore. Again, the band played two rare favorites: "Tonight I Want to Celebrate" followed by "Nashville to Kentucky." Jim James was at his best on these two oldies.
To conclude the seemingly never-ending encore, the band played "Golden" followed by "Anytime" followed by "Dancefloors." If you were to compile an MMJ greatest hits album, this encore could easily be the tracklist.
The whole show can be summarized by Jim James's outfit. He wore tight ass black jeans stuffed into zebra print boots. Loud, aggressive, and rock star royal: this band is the best in the biz.

I Voted for This Guy!

As a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I had the pleasure of casting a vote for Jim Webb.
The Senator-elect is already making news as a maverick. Check out this Washington Post article about the feathers Webb is already starting to ruffle.
The best part of the article is the anecdote about a reception President Bush held for incoming members of Congress. Jim Webb heavily criticized Bush throughout the campaign, so at the reception, Webb tried to avoid Bush. Bush eventually tracked him down and the two engaged in the following conversation:
Hmmmmm......Webb is a Vietnam vet while Bush used his family name to stay out of the war. Webb's son is serving in Baghdad while Bush's daughter vacations in Buenos Aires. Who would you rather have guide our war policies?

Intriguing Washington Post Site

Check out the Washington Post's "Global Power Barometer." It's a graphic representation of the world balance of power. The major players are the United States, China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, and the Islamists. There are links to analyses of each player. Very interesting stuff.

One of the links features Robert Kaplan's article "Interventionism's Realistic Future." In an overview of contemporary US foreign policy, he argues that the realism of the 1990s Balkan Wars will balance the idealism of the 2000s Iraq war to continue the development of what history will call the Post-Cold War Era. Again, interesting stuff.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nail on the Head

In an interview with The Slip (who will be opening for My Morning Jacket tonight at the 930 Club), the Village Voice discusses what it calls the "post-jam" genre:

"Take...twenty- and thirtysomethings who've navigated a...path through musical influences, starting in college with noodly experimentalists like the Grateful Dead and Phish and graduating to noodly experimentalists like Wilco and Built to Spill. Take the shared catharsis of thousands of live shows and hundreds of bootlegs and a slew of genuinely classic albums—from Anthem of the Sun to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to Z. Add it all up. There's something happening here, and for everyone concerned, it usually happens onstage."


The Fuzz is Out of Control

NPR reports that "the entire narcotics division of the Atlanta police department is under suspension" after a drug bust gone awry left an 88-year-old woman dead.

The entire narcotics division is suspended. Are you kidding me?

The overblown police raid is sad confirmation of a disturbing trend. The Cato Institute published a report several months ago, claiming that police departments are increasing the "militarization of...civilian law enforcement, [with a] dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units."

The report goes on to say, "These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects."

In a related story, three New York Police Officers have been suspended for killing an unarmed man. The officers allegedly shot the man over 50 times.

For those of us who have been paying attention to hip hop lyrics over the past 10 years, these sad stories don't really come as much of a surprise.

America: home of the free...liberty and justice for all....right.

The Trend Continues

Ecuador is the latest Latin American country to elect a leftist president. The BBC reports that Rafael Correa has won the run-off election.

In other Latin American Leftism, our main man Hugo Chavez is running for re-election this month. The Cato Institute reports that Chavez's government is the most corrupt in Venezuelan history.

Pitchfork is Hebrew for Vomit

Click here to read Pitchfork's review of a Joanna Newsom show. Or read the following excerpt and get a head start on your dry heaving (strongest nausea-inducers are highlighted in red):

"These juxtapositions are a product of Newsom's ambiguous relationship to the very indie culture that adores her. After seeing her perform, it's clear that she is (and you'll forgive me the lofty classical image; this is a Joanna Newsom review) a sort of Prometheus, bringing an elite musical tradition down from the mountain and into the lowlands of indie rock, where attitude-not-training is the rule, and a certain spiritual posture is more important that traditional musicianship. She's been punished accordingly by the gods (in this extended metaphor, a cynical press) for her efforts to cross that divide."

Man, these guys are so lame. What does that say about me, John Q. Regular-Reader? I still check the damn site every day.

I've linked some more Pitchfork articles for your reading pleasure...

Slate and Wired Magazine weigh in:
Slate: "The Indie Music Site that Everyone Loves to Hate"
Wired: "The Pitchfork Effect"

Two blogs and a parody site do it as well:
Coolfer: "Stick a Fork in It"
Artificial Stupidity: "One More Reason Why Pitchfork Sucks"
Rich Dork -- parody site, really funny

But if you only read one other article about Pitchfork, read this one:
"Pitchfork Media Can Suck My Cock."

I wish I could write so eloquently.

We're still having fun, and you're still the one

From the Worst Album Cover Ever to the Halls of Congress - it actually seems like a fairly natural progression.
In addition to rocking, Orleans lead singer John Hall represents....New York, that is. He was just elected to Congress. I hope he legislates as well as he writes easy-listening radio staples.

"Still the One"

We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never want to see you again
But I want you to know, after all these years

You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear
You're still the one -- I want to talk to in bed
Still the one -- that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

I looked at your face every day
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came, I just wanted to go (wanted to go)
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow

Robert F. Kennedy

From pain comes wisdom...

Even in our sleep,
pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.


Bobby Kennedy recited this Aeschylus poem during his ad hoc eulogy of Martin Luther King. On April 4th, 1968, Kennedy was campaigning for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. He was supposed to deliver a stump speech in Indianapolis, but he learned of MLK's death en route and quickly changed his address. They are some of the most inspiring words I've ever heard. Read the text here, or watch the video below:

My Morning Jacket

Show Season, Finale - Part 1 of 2.
Jim James' voice is a dream wrapped in a myth. Everyone should have the good fortune to stand in an auditorium and listen to his songs fill the air.
His band My Morning Jacket came to the 930 Club last night and did what they do best - kick sonic ass. Although the headbangers like "Run Thru" and "One Big Holiday" were solid as usual, the highlights for me were the slow tunes. Towards the end of the set, the band played 3 or 4 consecutive down tempo songs during which Jim James showcased his blessed pipes.
In my hippie days, I would have had a memo pad to write down the setlist. Luckily for us, but unfortunately for the setlist, I'm no longer a hippie. Thus, I don't have a record of the songs played during the slow montage. I'm know they played "At Dawn" and a couple of other old gems off the albums At Dawn and The Tennessee Fire. The kicker, however, was "Dondante."
Dondante. I'm not sure I've ever heard a better live My Morning Jacket song. They explored the ups and the downs of this song for over 10 minutes, blending mystic guitars with a ghost of a saxophone and Jim's Banshee voice. If I'm ever lucky enough to hear the voice of God, I'm sure that it will remind me of Jim James.
My Morning Jacket plays another sold-out 930 show tonight. Bring it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Choke

The Sine Curve Season continues while the chokes keep piling up.

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Washington Redskins yesterday, 17 -13. In many ways, the loss is inexcusable. With less than 5 minutes to play, Chris Gamble and Mike Minter both missed tackles and gave up a 66-yard touchdown to Redskin tight end Chris Cooley . Tight ends are offensive linemen. They are not supposed to run that far. God knows they can't run that fast, either. Why couldn't someone catch Cooley?
And while we're asking questions, what's the deal with rookie quarterbacks having break out days against the Panthers? The Cowboys' Tony Romo ruled the Cats three weeks ago. Yesterday, the Redskins' Jason Campbell did the same. WTF?
It's tempting to prognosticate worst-case scenarios, but I'll refrain. There is, after all, a lot of season left, and the Cats are still playoff-eligible.

Our next game is a Monday Night Football showdown at Philadelphia. It will have Wild Card implications. It's a must win. Come on, Cats! You're better than this!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

You know, so what if the Thanksgiving story isn't true. So what if it romanticizes the settler/native struggle, diverts our attention from an American genocide, and plants the American Myth in the minds of kindergarners across the country....Thanksgiving rocks! That's all that matters. Enjoy your bird and be thankful you live in this great country.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

HCYB Thanksgiving Links

Happy Day Before Turkey Day, Y'all.......
  • The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security cannot find close to 40 contract files. That means that millions - maybe billions - of dollars have been given to "homeland security" companies, yet no records of the transactions exist. I wonder if the files were intentionally "lost." (What is "Homeland Security," anyway? Somewhere, George Orwell feels like a prophet.)
  • The Washington Post also reports that former Attorney General Janet Reno has started to oppose the Justice Department's handling of terrorist suspects, claiming that current detention policies pose a threat to civil liberties.
  • The blog Tabloid Rabies reports that Courtney Love has posed nude for a British Magazine to promote her new book Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love.
  • Gawker features a great little synopsis of the different kind of fans that attend indie rock shows. The One Louder blog features another. Indie fans think they're so witty.
  • The BBC reports that Barbara Bush - the President's daughter, not his mother - had her credit cards and cell phone stolen in Buenos Aires. After all, the Secret Service was only there to make sure she didn't get kidnapped. They didn't have time to watch her stuff, too.

Monday, November 20, 2006

First Top Ten List of 2006

by Holly Burns

I decided that 2005 trumped 2006. Last year we had new White Stripes, Bloc Party, Kings of Leon, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gorillaz, etc....I'll give the top five below some credit, but I can't honestly say there were 10 albums that came out this year that I went nuts over.

This is what I've got:

1 - Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
(Best live band I have seen. Love Brendan Benson and Jack White together on the guitars in Level.)

2 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
(Karen O's voice is ridiculous. Although I love Fever To Tell, this is a close second.)

3 - Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
(Starts to sound a little like the Hives but love those brits. Not great live, but this is about the album, right?)

4 - Secret Machines - Now Here is Nowhere
(Love the rock anthems. And the drummer is nuts. Saw them in DC but better outdoors in Brooklyn.)

5 - Mogwai - Mr. Beast
(Looove the keyboard. Auto Rock and Emergency good.)

6 - The Guillemots - Through The Window Pane
(Different from the rest of the UK bands..Trains to Brazil makes me happy. Want them to tour in the States.)

7 - Beck - The Information
(Don't get the Scientology..but love the Beck. Putting out 2 albums in 2 years makes some of these songs sound like Guero.)

8 - The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
(They are better now in their old age. Don't get the space rock stuff but love Wayne.)

9 - Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
(She is a little pop-ish but has a great voice. Loved her in Modern Girls w the Strokes - these songs are better.)

10 - The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
(Definitely not their best but Albert Hammond Jr. is amazing on the guitar. Love his solo on Vision of Division.)

Stranger than Fiction and Babel

I saw both of these movies this weekend.

Stanger than Fiction was pretty good. It's a romantic comedy with an arty/edgy twist. Will Ferrell is funny as always, Maggie Gylenhaal is irresistible, and Dustin Hoffman is great. Hoffman seems to have found one role that carries over from film to film now. In this movie, as in Meet the Fockers and I Heart Huckabees, Hoffman plays an academic that is slightly bufoonish yet lovably sagacious.

Babel was excellent. It was a long, slow movie, short on plot and high on cultural criticism. Although Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and a host of other actors give excellent performances, this movie is really all about the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. By examining the lives of seemingly unrelated strangers in Morocco, Japan, and Mexico, Iñárritu provides intriguing commentary on such challenging themes as guns, drugs, fatherhood, and perception versus reality. Ultimately, it is a statement on the simultaneous variability and universality of human nature. If multiculturalism or global studies is your thing, then you should not miss this movie.

The Panthers Are a Second Half Team.

In addition to winning lots of games after halftime, the Carolina Panthers also have a tendency to win in the second half of a season. This year is no different.

After going 4-4 in a lacklustre first half of the season, the Cats have won 2 in a row and seem ready to make a playoff run. Both wins have been excellent. By following the Tampa Bay win with a St. Louis ass-kicking, the Panthers now seem capable of living up to all of that pre-season pundit bloviation, otherwise known as hype.

The Cats are getting their mojo back at the right time, too. NFC South rivals Atlanta and New Orleans have cooled off considerably. Both teams lost yesterday, giving Carolina a share of the division lead.

Two weeks ago, I was fretting about Wild Card and playoff chances. Today, I'm thinking we're back on track. I'm just another bloviator, I guess. I can't help it - bloggers are suckers for punditry.

A Good Day for Carolina Sports

There is a void in my soul: I didn't watch the Panthers or the Heels yesterday.
Despite my retreat into fair-weatherville, I am pleased with the results and have chosen to focus on three numbers: 7, 2, and 3.
7 is how many sacks the Panthers had as they defeated the Rams yesterday, 15-0.
2 is how many times the basketball Tar Heels have scored 100 points or more this season. They did so yesterday on their way to a 103-50 rout of Gardner Webb.
3 is how many times in a row the football Heels have beaten NC State. They did so again on Saturday, winning 23-9.
In a world of increasing relativism, there is at least one universal truth: one way or the other, THE HEELS WILL BEAT STATE. It's what they do.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dark Energy is So Old, It Owes God 5 Bucks

NPR reports that there is now scientific evidence to prove that Dark Energy, "a strange force...that was present in the universe billions of years ago," is causing the cosmos to expand at an accelerating pace.

Gordon Gecko: "Greed is Good"

When I taught high school history, I would show this clip from Oliver Stone's movie Wall Street to introduce our study of Capitalism, Andrew Carnegie, the Industrial Revolution, and Social Darwinism.

Another Warholian Zinger

The BBC reports that a Hong Kong art collector paid $17.36 million for this Andy Warhol painting of Mao Zedong.
Overall, $240 million of art was bought and sold last night, bringing to an end what the BBC called "a fortnight in which [auction companies] Christie's and rivals Sotheby's took $1bn between them. "
I don't know what's more ridiculous: the fact that people spent ONE BILLION DOLLARS (!!!) on art in 2 weeks, or the fact that the BBC still uses the word "fortnight."
Time Magazine reports on the same auction in the aptly named article "Portrait of a Bull Market." It concludes that high priced art markets usually come right before a recession in the overall economy. Sweet.
This reminds me of the scene where Daryl Hannah furnishes Charlie Sheen's apartment with all that gaudy art in the movie Wall Street. I hope the fate of the world economy is not nearly as destructive as Charlie Sheen's in the movie.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Roots Cover Bob Dylan's "Masters of War"

The Village Voice reports that The Roots played a ridiculous version of Dylan's classic song. I wish I could have been there to see it.

"Masters of War" is a relevant cover songs these days (Click here for the lyrics). Pearl Jam played it on their Spring Tour (Click here for their 2006 Washington, DC, setlist).

OJ Simpson Makes Me Throw Up a Little Bit in My Mouth

Have you heard about OJ's new book? This is all I have to say about it:

Why does everyone gottta be up in everyone else's business?

Here are 2 links that are making me thinking this week:
  • NARTH (The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) is a service for people trying to overcome "gender identity disorders." Its counselors help you learn not to be gay.
  • US News and World Report features this article about activist atheists trying to "save" the US from it's self-destructive addiction to God.

Now, I realize that NARTH provides a service to people who want help. And I realize that many atheists and agnostics are trying to influence public policy. But still - aren't groups like these also trying to change people's minds?

There's nothing more American than sticking your nose into other people's affairs. While it is human to disagree with your opponents, it seems that our fellow countrymen want to take it a step farther. "Not only do I think you are wrong," they say, "but I will try to change you."

If I'm gay, why won't you just let me be gay? If I believe in God, why won't you just let me believe in God? Jesus, people.....aren't there more important things to worry about?

Love It or Hate It: This Photo is Ridiculous!

From what I've seen so far, we're all going to love Brandan Wright on the floor. But doesn't this shot seem a little too Rashad McCants-ish?

Hansbrough Makes Up for Heels' Slow Start

You gotta love it when your big man scores a double-double, tries to pull the rim off the backboard with every dunk, and leads the team in steals.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and logged 3 steals as he led the Tar Heels to a 73-66 win over Winthrop last night.

Love those 1980s Movie Formulas and Stereotypes

It's fairly standard, really......

In Can't Buy Me Love, Ronald Miller wants to be cool in high school. In Soul Man, Mark Watson wants a Harvard scholarship. In Just One of the Guys, Terry Griffith wants to win a journalism contest.

The rest of the story is the same for all 3:

Character wants something. Character is not qualified to get it. An alternate identity, however, is qualified to get it. Character assumes alternate identity. Character achieves goal. Character falls in love with someone "real." Character continues to be "fake." Moral quandaries abound. Love interest finds out about character's secret. Movie reaches emotional climax. Character makes the right choice and reveals true identity. Happy endings commence.

Ronald Miller is a nerd, so he blackmails a girl to make him cool. Mark Watson is too white for the minority scholarship at Harvard, so he paints himself black. Terry Griffith is too female to be taken seriously as a high school journalist, so she pretends to be a boy.

Wow - the 1980s were so easy!

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Was the tag line for "Soul Man" really "He didn't give up. He got down?" Somewhere, some angry sociology student is earning a PhD over this.]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

UNC Disappoints in Win: 22-Point Lead Not Enough for Tar Heel Faithful

I followed the Tar Heels' season opener tonight by having the following text message conversation with my buddy Ernesto:

Ernesto: "We look like shit." (7:10 PM)
Me: "really?" (7:11 PM)
Ernesto: "Yea. outrebounded, scored, and hustled." (7:12 PM)
Me: "aren't you being too quick to judge? how much time is left?" (7:13)
Ernesto: "Its early. But still." (7:14 PM)
Ernesto: "Up only 5 at half. We were 35 point favorites. We cant guard anyone." (7:51 PM)

Because I could not see the action on TV, I had to build assumptions based on the information I had received:

My hypothesis was that at 7:10 PM we lost the tip off, at 7:12 PM a Sacred heart player missed a shot, grabbed the rebound, and dunked for the first 2 points of the game. Then at 7:14 PM, we scored our first points, and by halftime we were locked up a good first game on our quest for the National Title.

The University of North Carolina did, in fact, defeat Sacred Heart University tonight, 103-81. You wouldn't know it from the text messages though. And you wouldn't know it from all the belly-aching Tar Heels who watched the game on TV. In spite of solid performances from Tyler Hansbrough, Reyshawn Terry, Brandon Wright, and just about every other UNC player who stepped on the court, I would bet that most Tar Heels fans probably spent the night screaming at the TV. [REF! I WILL RUN YOU OVER WITH MY CAR!]

HCYB New Music

Brad Will's Final Video

This video is pretty chilling because it leaves most of the action up to your imagination.

"I’m happy as long as I’ve got enough money to buy golf balls.”

HCYB Recommended links:

  • Inside Carolina reports that the Tar Heels basketball starting lineup is still undecided. It also reports that, when asked about the possibility of restructuring his contract to accomodate the acquisition of football coach Butch Davis, Roy Williams said, "I’m happy as long as I’ve got enough money to buy golf balls.”
  • Pitchfork gets kind of serious on us and discusses a jazz musician who killed himself to protest the Iraq war.
  • Prefix discusses the depths to which Kevin Federline has sunk, including the lowest rated album ever to be featured on
  • Slate reports that the drunk frat guys in the Borat movie are suing Sasha Baron Cohen for unfairly coaxing them to agree that slavery should still be legal. Slate also devotes approximately 1000 words to debating whether U2 or R.E.M. was the greatest rock band of the 1980s.
  • The Village Voice continues its coverage of Brad Will, the American activist/journalist who was shot and killed by Mexican police forces during the riots in Oaxaca.
  • The Washington Post writes that Democrats's victory in the 2006 Election will have a negative impact on free trade. In another interesting article, the Post says that US workers with college degrees are strong competitors in the global market but that workers with only a high school degree are not.
  • I saw my first Christmas decorations the day before Halloween. Business Week notes that the Holiday Shopping Season has already begun.
  • Newsweek features a great 1991 photo and article about George H.W. Bush and his National Security Team - the same team that's essentially being called in now to try and clean up the Iraq mess.
  • Time Magazine lists its Top 100 All-TIME albums....those witty bastards.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh, High in the Middle, Oh

OHIO was a key state in the Democratic insurrection otherwise known as the 2006 Election. It was home to Bob Ney, who after pleading guilty to criminal corruption charges, watched the election results from a jail cell. It was also the state where populist Sherrod Brown unseated Senate incumbent Mike DeWine.

However, the biggest story out of Ohio is that the University of Michigan comes to Columbus to play the Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday. Ohio State's ranked #1. Michigan's ranked #2. Who's got time for politics when you got football like this?

Lame Ducks

The press has made a fairly big deal out of Nancy Pelosi's first 100 hours as Speaker of the House. Well, I'm all for looking foward, but we still have 3 weeks or so of a lame duck Congress in session. So Nancy's gonna hafta wait.

Speaking of lame - the Republicans are already starting to make things interesting. Trent Lott emerged from exile to announce that he will run for Senate Minority Whip, and Rudolph Guiliani is already active on the 2008 Presidential campaign trail.

The thing I'm most interested in,however, is the pending legislation that deals with free trade in Vietnam. So far, it looks like protectionism is going to prevail over open markets. Regardless of the legislation that is passed, I'd say that this is a symbolic event. As the war effort in Iraq approaches a change in strategy, the world gets to see how America reconciles with a former enemy.

Holy Sh*t I Love Julius Peppers

The only player ever to play in a Final Four and a Super Bowl added 3 sacks and a fumble recovery to the list of reasons why he's the NFL's Most Valuable Player. Steve Smith also had a beasty game as the Panthers dropped the Buccaneers, 24-10. The Cats are back.

And in other great Tar Heel football news, Butch Davis will become the new head football coach at The University of North Carolina.

Tobacco Road fairweathered fans rejoice.

21st Century Lester Bangs: Where Are You?

The explosion of blogs, mp3's, and internet-media has transformed the arts of publication and criticism, especially when it comes to rock and roll. The following two articles address this trend:

Chris Dahlen of Pitchfork asks, "With music moving so fast and words becoming so cheap, have we reached the end days of criticism?" He then goes on to break rock writing down into three stages: "buzz, description, and judgment." He concludes that bloggers have a corner on all three stages, but that true rock critics still have three advantages: quality writing, synthesis, and analysis.

Chuck Klosterman of Esquire Magazine argues that the future of criticism lies not in rock and roll but in video games. Gaming, he argues, represents the same cutting edge of culture that rock and roll did in from the 1960s to the 1980s. He says, "Video games provide an opportunity to write about the cultural consequence of free will, a concept that has as much to do with the audience as it does with the art form."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hip Hop Education

When I was a high school teacher, I used a lot of hip hop songs to teach American history. After reading this Newsweek blurb, I feel like I was part of a growing trend.

According to the article, some urban schools and summer camps are incorporating hip hop into their debate programs. The National Urban Debate League, a leading high school debate organization, has embraced this trend.

With the rapid fire lyrics and conversational style of most rap songs, it seems only natural that debate and hip hop would go together. Furthermore, as rappers of the Boots Riley, Dead Prez, and Kanye West ilk continue to weave political and economic messages into their songs, it's logical to assume that hip hop music will continue to provide a good forum for argument and rhetoric.

Federline, Yo

It took the end of the Republican Revolution to make it happen, but I am happy to report that Kevin Federline and Britney Spears' divorce is only the 2nd most popular story on Google News today. Democracy trumps culture yet again.

2nd Place Heisman, 1st Place Congress

Former Tennessee Volunteer Quarterback Heath Shuler defeated Charles Taylor in North Carolina's 11th District. The last time people cast votes for Shuler, he finished behind FSU's Charlie Ward for the 1993 Heisman Trophy.

I Love the Smell of Progress in the Morning

Keith Ellison, a Muslim, won the Minnesota 5th District Congressional election. He will be the first Muslim ever to serve in the United States Congress.

Ellison was born in Detroit and converted to Islam when he was 19 years old. Before being elected, one of his most notable activities was helping to plan the Million Man March, sponsored by the Nation of Islam.

Because the Muslim population in and around Minnesota continues to grow, I would not be surprised to see more Muslims emerge as political contenders.

This, my friends, is what America is all about.

Checks and Balances Rock!

The Democratic victory in the House, and the potential Democratic victory in the Senate should restore checks and balances on Capitol Hill. As my mom said, "Those Founding Fathers knew what they were doing."

Say goodbye to fascist conspiracy theories and hello to getting absolutely nothing accomplished for the next 2 years. God bless limited government.

Monday, November 06, 2006

DC Drag Race

Check out the video of this year's annual DC Drag Race. Keep an eye out for drag queens dressed as JonBenet Ramsay, Condi Rice, and either Hilary Clinton or Princess Di. Also watch for future DC Mayor Adrien Fenty. Unfortunately, he did not dress in drag.

The accompanying song is "Take Your Mama" by the Scissor Sisters.

Bring It Heels: The Dream Starts 1 Week From Tomorrow

Ranked #2 in the AP, ESPN/USA Today, and the Coaches' Preseason Polls, The UNC Tar Heels prepare to dominate college basketball this year.

According to several trusted analysts, we have 13 players who could all start for any other NCAA Division 1 team.

Their goal is to average the most points ever by a Roy Williams-coached team. It all starts at 7PM November 14th in the Queen City against Sacred Heart.


It's Not Too Early to Start Talking About the Wild Card

If the playoffs were to start today, the Giants, Bears, Saints, and Seahawks would earn the division spots. The Falcons' 5-3 record would earn them one Wild Card, but the other one would be up for grabs among 5 teams, each with 4-4 records: the Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings, Panthers, and Rams.

The Panthers' losses to the Cowboys and Vikings relegate them to the middle of the pack. Man, those 2 losses are even more painful now.

The looming schedule includes a home game against St. Louis and a hostile road game in Philadelphia. I hate to call any game a "must win," but it appears that both of these games will be just that.

At the beginning of the season, while visions of Super Bowls danced in our heads, was there a single person who even suggested that we'd have to assess our chances of merely making the playoffs?