Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sit on it, Ponzi.


Good riddance to bad annum!

For anyone mucking about the East Village tonight, i'll be dj'ing at my local, the Boxcar, all night. No cover, no inflated drink prices; better music, fewer huckleberries. A good way to bury the nonsense heretofore known as "2008."

Am i dj'ing anywhere else in the near future? Glad you asked:

This Saturday, January 3, i'll be filling the silences in a complementary manner at:

RED DESERT NIGHTS:

Jack Rose 10:00
Jozef Van Wissem 8:00
DJ: Mike Wolf
admission $10:00

Rehab
25 Avenue B
clubmidway.com
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Tuesday the 6 i'm playing records at Daddy's, Brooklyn's best hang, starting around, i don't know, 9pm or so? That should be a fun one. http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/bars/archives/2005/03/daddys.html
---------------------

I'll also be the "house DJ" at my friend Noah Tarnow's seriously fun trivia night, The Big Quiz Thing, on Monday January 5 and again on the 19. Read up on your presidents, is all i'm saying. $250 in cash prizes, damn!

Crash Mansion
199 Bowery at Spring
7:30pm, $7 cover
www.bigquizthing.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Total fucking fandom

Well, you know, onward we all go, however we do. What helped lead me out of the deep blues (if not quite into the sky-blues) was a recent trip to the Academy on E 12th, where I've been unloading piles of old vinyl (for both space and money) lately. As the dude behind the counter started going through my stuff, something (like, instinct) tugged my eyes lazily toward the New Arrivals rack. My first thought was honestly to tell one of the staffers, "Hey, you guys shouldn't just leave New Order bootlegs laying around in that bin." Like something was really wrong with this picture.

Though not this one

It got worsebetter when I noticed that both were priced at $15 (only a bit more than you'd pay for a brand-new LP anyway), and the set lists spoke of an early-mid-’80s provenance—in other words, the period of life on Earth during which New Order was flawlessly perfect. One was called Blue Mondays and its spine cared not for mystery: "Tokyo May 2, 1985." My first call on all matters New Order is top photographer Tim Soter, who upon hearing the track-listing surmised that I had found a vinyl copy predating the official release of the well-traveled boot Pumped Full of Drugs. The other record is called (hmm) blueMONDAY, and I like its tracklist better: "Blue Monday," "Leave Me Alone," "When I'm With You," "5. 8. 6.," "Temptation," "Everything's Gone Green," "We All Stand." Someone went to the trouble of making an inner label that looked like it could be a Factory promo.




Link
I don't think it is; Factory would never even have given away something pressed this weakly. I wondered about the date and place of this show while enjoying the flatly pristine sound, especially on "Leave Me Alone" (a personal favorite, to the point where I've made its title my motto) and when an ecstatic "Temptation" spills right into "Everything's Gone Green." But it was a cover, a(n) hysterically indulgent version of Sparks' "When I'm With You," that provided a clue. (Footnote: During the masturbatory ending, Hooky briefly tears into the bassline of "Ceremony"; people there must have wigged out). A quick peek at New Order Online, something I don't look at often (preferring the music itself), revealed that the band played that cover exactly once, in Milan on June 22, 1982. Except the set list they print is not the same as what's on this record (though there is a fair bit of crossover). And so...it's probably from somewhere or other sometime in 1982. Cool.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Comet, 1996–2008

A great dog. A good, long life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Comet check

As autumn falls into winter (for us Northern Hemispheriacs, at least), let us all pause to peek into the life of this blahg's namesake, smiling and eating well in her extra-golden years.

Oh hi!


Some activity going on around here, and such


Who do you think has been holding the Earth in place all these years? You're welcome.


Comet is so very here right now!



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mike "deejays" on Tuesday in the East Village

It's in quotes because it'll be CDs, but hey. Stop in if you're around the naybourhood
Tues Nov 18
The Boxcar
168 Ave B btw 10/11 Sts
http://www.boxcarlounge.com/

Happy hour two-for-one till 10pm; the Boxcar has a sharply curated
selection of beers and boozes, I do most of my public drinking there. I'll
get started around 8 (though happy hour begins at 6, in case you want to
get good and tight)...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Return to Los Llamarada + Hank IV Mountain

We can assume it's at least partly down to a better p.a., but Los Llamarada and Hank "Eye-Vee" IV were both noticeably sharper, meaner and just plain louder at Cake Shop last night. (Local promoter Tom "Dot Dash" Hyland's band, Imaginary Icons, whipped together a handful of punk and garage styles in between the out-of-townees.) Hank IV's brick-to-the-head wallop came through much more, um, impactfully, as did Bob McDonald's wild-eyed "You're coming home with me right now young man" routine. The setting and sound benefitted Los Llamarada even more: Fucked as their reflection of rock music is, these four are no mere amateurish hyperactives—they are on point and tight as jeans (not their own, they all seemed quite comfortable). When vocaler Sagan and syntherist Estrella traded places toward the end of their set, things got even more intense, like the Velvets falling through a hole in the flag (can't say whose though). Also: better photographic evidence.


I can see Hank IV at Cake Shop! Raise your hands and take some pictures!


Sweaty and crazed: The IV's have it


Los Llamarada: Sagan gets air


Estrella rips it up

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Los Llamarada + Hank IV + Daniel DiMaggio/Home Blitz + Blues Control: Nov 12 2008; The Charleston

The likably ramshackle Charleston, where they almost insist you accept free pizza with your drink order, is located smack in the middle of the could-stand-a-bit-more-ramshackle Bedford strip in Wmsbrg. Which isn't why I arrived with conflicted feelings. I'd planned to miss the first band, Queens/locals Blues Control, because let's face it—four bands in one night? What am I, half my age? Conflicted feelings blossomed into profane ambivalence when my arrival, an hour after Blues Control was supposed to start, turned out in fact to be 40 minutes before they played. That old storyline…but. One hand: How am I going to last all night? The other: I get to see Blues Control, who have a bad habit of going first at these shows (due to the fact that guitarist Russ Waterhouse has a good habit of putting on most of these shows), and thus get missed more often than they should. I'll be fixing that, cause the duo has colonized some unmapped, heavily tweaked corner of the outerverse, chooglin' from aimless (the good kind) murk to alien blues exotica, Waterhouse digging deep while Lea Cho emits chiming keyboard sprays, lighting new planetary systems we hadn't spotted before. The music sounds far more reasonable than I've described it.

Next was Daniel DiMaggio, who usually appears (live and on record) under the name Home Blitz. He flew solo on borrowed electric. Totally killer. DiMaggio shot out a tight, nervy set that may have owed to the Chris Knox school formally (he even false-started a couple of songs) but sounded more like the Damned—or for that matter, Gaunt, which makes sense because in most parallel worlds, DiMaggio'd be from Columbus—stripped of the rhythm section. I found the Home Blitz CD at Other Music, maybe you will too.

Daniel DiMaggio; shoulda used flash, held hand still. Shoulda, coulda, woulda; didna.

By this point the night was just happening. (As if I had anything to get up for in the morning anyway.) Between bands downstairs, Brian Turner and Dave Martin DJ'ed while the trendyscenti clotted the tables to the front, away from the rock. Brian recommended to me a new comp, Downer Rock Genocide, which just happens to be my favorite kind of genocide. (It's also not really new, but such distinctions mean hardly anything. Everything now just kind of is, now.)

WFMU's Brian Turner, on the 0s and 1s. Also pictured: King Kong's good record, right.

Then came Hank IV (no relation) from SF (and a Crime comparison here, spiritually speaking at least, is no insult to anybody). They proceeded to destroy with their raucous yet focused trash-rock, brutal and funny. Being short meant I couldn't see frontman Bob McDonald's renowned stage moves (also not helping: no stage).

Hank IV is back there, swear.

Things McDonald said between songs: "This next song's about dirty ponchos, it's called 'Dirty Poncho.' [to bandmate] What? Oh. Okay then, this next song is about quitting, it's called 'I'm Quitting.' " And: "People ask about our name. Yeah—we wanted to cut the Williams family off at the knees. If Hank 3's son wants to make music, well the name's already taken." Hank IV's new Refuge in Genre is out on Siltbreeze (no surprise there); buy vinyl, win free download. The record's catalog number is SB117 but the Silt discography only goes up to SB102, so you know this is some future shit.

Straight outta Monterrey, Mexico, Los Llamarada have been offering beautiful music to difficult people for a few years now. Somehow missed them at FMU's SXSW show this past spring (I was there, but also not there), and have had to endure a massed-choir of praise for them since. All of which appears to be deserved: what brilliantly damaged and passionate rock music! Real howling desperation and disregard (sample song titles: "I've Got Your Face," "A Chance to Become Transparent"). Musically and otherwise, Los L are hard to pin down: guitarist Johnny Noise wore sweatpants; synthist-singerist Estrella countered with skirt and argyle sweater.

Los Llamarada: don't know what to wear, also don't care.

The llama-riders (no I don't speak Spanish, why?) also have a witheringly fucked new slab, Take the Sky, on S-S (a trademark of kwality, just like Siltbreeze), which ups every ante featured on their previous, The Exploding Now. The good news for NY'ers is that Los L and Hank IV play again this Friday at Cake Shop. I'm going back for seconds.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Radio radio

I'll be on WNYC's Soundcheck program tomorrow (er, today that is), 2pm Eastern on Friday, talking about—well…pop music and non-pop music, I guess! Easy to listen through the link above.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wolcott's high (yet even-keeled) hopes

No one can be so successfully of two different possible fully contextualized minds on Election Day than James Wolcott.

Election-day shocker: Palin drops McCain from ticket

Really, would that even be the most ridiculous thing we've heard in this three-decade-long election?

I just watched Joe the Unlicensed Plumber get grilled by an empty suit on CNN who could otherwise only talk about how great Twitter is; feels like I had 30 or so IQ points sucked out of me (like by, say, a plunger). After being backed into a corner (presumably built by one Wally the Woodworker) on his retarded understanding of taxes, Joe the Unlicensed, back-tax-owing, you'll-have-to-talk-to-my-publicist-I'm-just-a-regular-guy Plumber trumped CNN, the rest of the media and thinking people everywhere by basically sticking out his tongue and saying, "Because, that's why. Nyahhh!"
CNN suit: [paraphrased] "Joe, the taxes pay for roads, bridges, police and firefighters, infrastructure, all those things, and if you lower the taxes on people making more than $250,000, and raise them on the people who make less, there won't be enough money to pay for all of that. How do you explain your stance?"

Joe: [less paraphrased] "Look…it's—look up principles. That's why. Go and look up principles and I—you won't understand it, but look it up. That's it."

Well, if Sarah Palin's ready to be VP, I guess Joe's ready to be Secretary of the Treasury, or something.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This just in: Phils win the World Series

So, your correspondents* went to the World Series last weekend…and then again last week.

After a good long soaking complemented by machete winds, Saturday's game 3 got ready to start; killer seats down the first-base line, which is nice, cause your correspondents were to be there till well into Sunday.


Les broheims: the fixer and the doctor (in training).


Severin gets most-traveled-correspondent award; seen here dealing with the pre-game rain, and such. Note: actual bloody field that World Series soon to be played on, background.


Your correspondents had some time to kill Sunday, so we went to the Eagles-Falcons game, with (again) great seats, surrounded by the Philadelphia area's most attractive and well-read sports fans. Guess what about pro football? It's even more boring in person than it is on TV. Despite the threatening-looking formation above, yr. corresps. can tell you this next play was probably another run up the middle for a gain of about 2. They pretty much all are. Go Eagles.


Transportation from the thrillride Eagles game to the Bank is tricky, but Jeff seems to have it sorted.


For game 4, later to be known as "the one without the rain," yr. corresps. had pretty good seats. In addition to the pretty good seats themselves, we had a heated room, a TV, free drinks and food (pictured: salad, foreground left); we could hear everything the fans yelled at Bud Selig.


J.C. Romero getting it done in game 4.


Jeff in his Mike Schmidt jersey, in front of a painting of Mike Schmidt, which hangs in a concourse with carpeting, heat (really, it was damn cold), and memorabilia from the Phils' countless past World Series appearances.


Yr. corresps. went back for game 5 part II. As if there were another option.


That white speck toward the left is (cue horns) Brad Lidge coming in to finish off the World Series. A massively dramatic moment, in miniature.


Brad Lidge subsequently finishing off the World Series. I know the postseason isn't factored in, but explain again to yr. corresps. why he isn't going to win Cy Young?


Your correspondents have no idea why this one's blurry.


Apparently Fox's cameras are better than yr. corresps'. But does their suite have a TV like this? It does? Oh.


Joy in Mudville.


Victorino on the big board, which says it all: Phillies Coca-Cola CHAMPS Toyota etc.


Hey, this guy's sign is right!


Victory lap.


Next to 30th Street Station.

*: Here's to DFW.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Field of streams

The many great shots from my snazzy new Canon PowerSnot ZPL-X9000-blue 28! blue 28!-hut-hut-hut! camera will have to wait for my computer to get a post-millennial software upgrade, but for the few people in the Western hemisphere whom I haven't told, I went to all three World Series games in Philadelphia, via the broheim's score of a lifetime. Well, two and a half games, for the moment; anyone even remotely interested in baseball knows about the mind-bogglingly horseshit decision by commisioner Bud Selig to play through the worst conditions anyone can remember seeing or even hearing about at a baseball game. No doubt Bud was in thrall to his TV overlords, who surely would've preferred Red Sox–Dodgers (understood) but given Phillies-Rays are likely at least praying for more than five games, and for a few to be completed on the day they begin. So when Bud allowed game 5 to slosh on even as Jimmy Rollins, possibly the top defensive shortstop in baseball, couldn't field first a pop-up and then a grounder, and the Rays splashed in the tying runs, the crowd turned on him. It was ugly, as anything involving Bud Selig's face would necessarily be.

Not only is he a member of the jowls-of-the-month club, he's also the commissioner

From our nearby perch we had a clear view of it all: For most of the game, the two sections in front of the commish's box chanted, "Let Pete in!" (On this I have to say I agree with Bud; Rose bet on baseball while he managed a baseball team. But also: who really gives a shit?) As the rain kept on soaking the field and players, and the temperature dropped, and the winds howled—and well known to Bud, Channel 6 Action News and Jeffrey Doppler was that it would not let up for 24-36 hours (despite Bud's claim otherwise)—the Rays doinked their way out of an early 2-0 deficit, through no real fault of Cole Hamels. By this point, the crowd had turned to, and on, Selig, screaming at him to halt the game. Bud gazed back, expressionless, turning half of Section 231 to stone in the process. Someone in our immediate vicinity paired his yelling with a finger-across-throat sign, which was probably meant as "stop the game already!" but which may have been interpreted as, "We'd kill you if we could." An unfortunate misunderstanding under heated (though freezing) conditions.

The game will be picked up tonight in the bottom of the 6th; if Bud didn't have his head up his ass—sudden thought: looking at that head, might it really be his ass?—it'd be top of the 5th (or earlier) and the Phils would be up 2-0 or 2-1. (Special notice to Rays' starter Scott Kazmir, who looked rattled after giving up a pair in the 1st—pre-soaking—and then proved his mettle by settling down till things had to be stopped. After all, it was just as cold for his team; ours just got stuck with playing the field when said field became totally unplayable.)

But I'm a Philadelphia sports fan, so I knew that however it was gonna go, it probably wouldn't be pretty. With the best seat I've had for anything since camping out for U2 in ’83 (got front row), I have no choice: I am happily returning to arschkalte (but by then, most likely dry) Philly for the rest of game 5. To say it's worth the effort is the understatement of my life to date. If the Phils win it all tonight, I promise all of America a free Taco Bell taco, during a three-hour window TBA. You're welcome.

A few things I learned while in the heated portion of Citizens Bank Park:
—Henry Aaron oozes dignity in person, even from behind, even if it might not have been him
—the Inquirer's John "Gonzo" Gonzalez looks like that nephew you really like and dresses like a regular schlub on gamedays
George Will eats his ballpark hot dogs like most everyone else: mit kraut, with his hands and like a hungry mofo
—free pizza is still always good

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chris Brokaw, Union Hall, Brooklyn, 10/22/08

What's worth leaving a comfy sofa in a warm apartment with a flickering TV showing the good guys with an early two-run lead in game 1 of the World Series (see below) on a chilly night to go deep into Brooklyn for? This guy.


About 25 blessedly quiet people witnessed a too-rare solo acoustic gig by Chris Brokaw, an absolute favorite. Brokaw mixed songs and instrumentals from (mostly) Incredible Love, Red Cities (coupla free songs at that link) and his evocative new acoustic album, Canaris.

Like most great artists, Brokaw's skill lies in communicating bracingly real emotions, even when (sometimes especially if) going without his fine/sand vocals. And what he's transmitting is quintessentially American: Unfurling Canaris's most astonishing piece, the 12-minute-plus "Drink the Poetry of (the) Celtic Disciple," Brokaw, strumming and picking, broke into fleet chords that conjured thoughts of a new lover reaching for your hand and pulling you gleefully into a sublime pastoral, racing through field and wood, pausing, opening into clearings, running not for your life but just for life, all of it existing more in some collective memory than in our actual lives (mine, at least). My scholarship on Charles Ives is a bit thin so I'm speaking out of turn, but—that. The composer's same power to make you dream of American space, real and mythic and blurred together.

By the way, the aforementioned "Drink the Poetry…"? It's a cover—of a French black-metal band from the ’90s called Vlad Tepes, who were (duh) part of a collective known as the Black Legions. So in addition to all the above, it appears that advanced alchemy is also in Brokaw's quiver.

Steady as they go

Cole, calm, contained. Plenty of work left. Note the dirt on Pat Burrell's leg—who knew they used real dirt at the Trop?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John McCain: Is he really the terrorists' choice?

Here in the real America—New York City, which was attacked on September 11, 2001, at which time Sarah Palin's husband was a member of a political party that advocated seceding from the United States—we're constantly reminded to be on the lookout for possible terrorist activity. One tell-tale sign to watch for is people behaving erratically.

McCain: This is how I go when I go like this

Now, one photo of McCain attempting to…well, who the fuck knows what he's doing there. Plant a Koran in Obama's suitpocket? But now we have real confirmation that patriotic jihadists want a McCain presidency.

CMJ the real easy way: Violens + not much else

For the first time in about 20 years, there's gloriously little reason for me to engage CMJ week in my usual aggressive three-shows-per-night way. So last night found our gang lazily trawling the dregs of the Lower East Side club scene—which is essentially every place outside of Cake Shop. The Delancey is a sorry dungeon of a club (live music in the basement, indolent text-twizzlers and DJ on the ground floor, young urban narcissists on the roof), which hosted the annual New Zealand party. We're all NZ partisans, though the pickins were rather slim this year: Openers the Naked and Famous were neither but managed to add a spark to au courant indie sounds, which is more than can be said for the rest of the bands, who did little more than ape the done-to-death UK/Amerindie style of 2005–present. ["Angular" guitars, anyone? Twelve angular guitars, just ten cents, whatta bargain…] Sub Pop signees the Ruby Suns showed flashes of charm (and no angular guitars), but whenever the duo brought a potentially good idea into a song it was abandoned just as quickly, an audio version of MTV-style jump-cut editing. Rhys "Murray Hewitt" Darby MC'ed and, unsurprisingly, stole the show without trying. On ya.


Violens, the Annex, 10/21/08 (PHOTOGRAPH: Tim Soter)

An easy walk from there to a moderately less odious orifice, the Annex, for a band we knew we like, Violens, who are already good and only going to get better. The perpetual (for now) obstacle for this NYC-via-Miami quartet is that its pristine pop songs can't possibly sound as good onstage—at least not if you're relegated to pull-the-plug rooms like the Annex (though Friday at Bowery Ballroom should be the thing/place/ticket). Sure enough, while not a disaster it was difficult sifting the brilliance of "Violent Sensation Descends" out of the indifferent mix, though I've heard this band mixed less competently, and the epic scale of new song "Until It's Unlit" came through. Bonus points for the way they launched into their set—seemingly distracted line-check becomes gathering storm reveals song.

Tonight's non-dilemma: Game 1 of the World Series or the unsurpassed guitarist Chris Brokaw, whose solo gigs are about as common as October baseball for the Phils.… The answer, of course, is both. Especially since it looks like I'll be at games 3, 4 and 5 in Philadelphia.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shane Victorino's Game 2 line:

Two-for-five, four RBI's, a sparkling catch at the centerfield wall and one big booger picked on national television. Doesn't baseball just always work this way? You make a great play in the field and follow it the next inning with a great play on offense. So what if Victorino's offensive play came in the dugout instead of at the plate?

Victorino: throws right, bats both, picks with his right-index I believe

The MVP of the Phils' postseason so far was caught on-camera red-fingered an inning after making a leaping catch at the wall in centerfield off Casey Blake's bat. Photos of the catch are all over the Internet; still looking for a screen-cap of Vic's pick.

It is just baseball though. Adding to the sad story of manager Charlie Manuel's 87-year-old mother passing away earlier in the day, Victorino was informed after the game of the death of his grandmother. The team gets a day off to collect themselves and recover from an emotional few days.

Secret Service vs. Flyers fans

The Flyers found a can't-miss way to make sure their home opener against the Rangers this Saturday night won't be lost amid the Phils' drive to the World Series. From Sam Carchidi's Flyers blog:

Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin will drop the puck at Saturday night's opener against the Rangers at the Wachovia Center.

In an e-mail sent to the Flyers and news organizations, a former season ticket holder said he was "appalled" that the club was using Saturday's NHL opener as "a billboard for political advertisement" by having Palin drop the first puck.

The fan wrote that those attending the game "should be able to check their political and ideological beliefs at the door and come together as one to support the Flyers. It is one of the last refuges we have for unbridled enjoyment. To invite an atmosphere of polarization and dissent amongst Flyers fans is appalling to me."

Bound to be the most controversial invitee to a Flyers game since the Soviet Red Army team in 1976 (and she'll probably be treated about as nicely). Sarah "lipstick on a puck" Palin may think she's Joe Sixpack's choice, but even though team (and Comcast) chairman Ed Snider is a huge GOP donor, Philadelphia's a pretty staunch Democratic town, and even the apolitical sports fans come equipped with what-the-fuck-is-this? detectors. I mean, fans like these put down sixpacks between periods.

A recent unwelcome guest at a Flyers game

That's one


And this was two.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Palin: unqualified for VP…

…but plenty qualified to be just another right-wing bully. Hmm, considering the past eight years, maybe she is qualified to be VP.

Obama: most liberal in the Senate

But he's got nothing on that rampaging socialist still loitering around the White House.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama: cool, contained, communicative; McCain: Palinesque


If reason still roams the land, then this will be known as the night Obama took command. How many different ways can McCain interject an already disjointed flow of verbiage with a "…but my friends…"?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Me, dj'ing the Gate + White Out with Samara and MV gig

I'll be filling time and space with records this Wednesday night for Red Desert Nights at Rehab, which is presenting the first Gate show here in who-knows-how-long. Mssrs Morley and Yeats are in town early for the upcoming Dead C show at Bowery Ballroom, which, like tonight's hosts/openers, White Out (joined by Samara Lubelski and MV Carbon on strings), is a duhn't miss for the out-minded. Details:
RED DESERT NIGHTS presents

Wednesday October 8th 2008
at rehab
25 Avenue B
212.253.2595
http://www.clubmidway.com
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rare New York City appearance of New Zealand's great sound molesters:
GATE
featuring Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats of the Dead C
10:00 pm

PLUS

WHITE OUT with Strings
NYC's own din-makers get strung out with Samara Lubelski on violin
and MV Carbon on cello.
8:30 pm

Doors open at 8:00

$7.00

Thank god the bailout's working


Walk it off you pussies

Apparently there's a nasty case of the "bank jitters" going around, and it's really infectious. What it sounds like the stock market needs, as opposed to several hundred billion taxpayer dollars, is just a good old-fashioned beating. Not the theoretical-economical kind of beating pegged to losing trillions of dollars in imagined money—more like just some fat lips and bloody noses. Every afternoon-news program seems to have a correspondant blaming the Dow's yoyoing on "panicky investors" and traders' "concerns." CNN (no, I don't know why I was watching it) explained that the Dow's 10,000 level, under which it's drunkenly stumbled, represents a major psychological barrier for the market.

Really? They're panicked and fragile and need therapy, and so the lead weight that is the U.S. economy—growing more leaden each day—can drag down the entire First World? (Call it class equality the hard way.)

In fact, as David Leonhardt writes online for the Times, the Dow is sort of a red-ink herring—things are probably worse than all that.
You can bet that most media accounts of the market’s performance will focus on the Dow…since it’s the best-known measure of the market. But it’s also a mistake. The Dow… [is] based on only 30 stocks. Almost no one owns a mutual fund tied to the Dow. The performance of the S.&P. 500, on the other hand, roughly describes the performance of mutual funds owned by millions of people.
(Be sure to click through to Daniel Gross's 2003 piece for Slate, the basis for Leonhardt's post.)

The only good news I can think of at the moment (non-sports-related) is the refreshingly clear sense of desperation being exhibited by McPalin as they can no longer talk about anything besides Obama's alleged Manchurianity. They can feel it slipping away. But even that has a grim veneer to it: as my friend Craig Willingham pointed out the other night, the fact that the old white men are finally ready to hand the country off to a black guy—now that they've finished wrecking it. Hey, good luck with all that mess you're inheriting, Black Guy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rarer than radium



For the fourth time in my life, this not-cursed-just-plain-bad team of mine has advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. Details soon on the viewing itself, which took place at 11th Street Bar, NYC's home for fans of Liverpool FC, who pulled off a hell of a win themselves against Man City beforehand. (Let's just say it's lucky for me the Phils also wear red.)