Ross, sweet swag!


Richard Ford's new Frank Bascombe novel coming soon!!

Two of my favorite novels of all time are The Sportswriter and Independence Day. Each chronicles the life of Frank Bascombe, a sort of American Everyman and someone I like to think that I share certain traits with. Well, part 3 is hitting stores on October 24th (a big day, see Jeff Tweedy post below). I might have to break my rule and buy it in hardcover. Here is a short story excerpted from the new novel. Enjoy.

Madison, WI listed, but no Cary/Raleigh, NC

from TraderJoes.com

Coming soon:
Brentwood, CA
Madison, WI
Roswell, GA
West End, DC


Jeff Tweedy news...

from wilcoworld.net

Nonesuch Records will release Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest, a performance DVD by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, on October 24. The disc includes performances and conversations gathered over five nights on Tweedy’s February 2006 solo acoustic tour, with footage from concerts at Seattle’s Moore Theater, Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, Eugene’s McDonald Theater, Arcata’s Humboldt State University, and The Fillmore in San Francisco. The film was directed by Christoph Green and Fugazi’s Brendan Canty, the creators of the documentary series Burn to Shine.

“I wanted this to feel how the tour felt to me,” said filmmaker Christoph Green, “…a chaptered flow down the west coast, showing the isolated bleakness you encounter when you travel quickly from one place to another, and then contrasting that with the experience at the shows—the gathering of people and the sense of community that is created night after night.

The audio tracks of all the songs featured on the DVD also will be available for anyone who purchases Sunken Treasure to download for free. This continues Wilco’s own tradition of regularly giving music to its fans via the Internet. In 2003 Wilco and Nonesuch made the More Like the Moon EP available for free download to anyone who had purchased YHF, and in 2005, they again made an EP of rare and live recordings available for free to anyone who had purchased A ghost is born, the band’s 2004 release.

During live solo performances, Tweedy draws from 200-plus songs with no particular set list in mind. The songs featured on the DVD feature music from Tweedy’s three bands: Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Loose Fur. There is also one previously unreleased track, “The Thanks I Get.” Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche and guitarist Nels Cline, who opened for him on the February tour, also make guest appearances in Sunken Treasure, accompanying Tweedy on several songs.

The DVD will be available for pre-order via the website in September.

Full track listing: Sunken Treasure, Theologians, The Ruling Class, How to Fight Loneliness, Summerteeth, The Thanks I Get, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, ELT, Shot in the Arm, In a Future Age, Laminated Cat, (Was I) In Your Dreams, Airline to Heaven, Heavy Metal Drummer, War on War, Acuff Rose.

a little disappointed...

in last night's Rescue Me finale. First of all, the scene when they stop by the Ground Zero memorial seemed a little forced and the dialogue a little contrived. Then, (spoiler alert) to end the season with Tommy and what's her name in the burning house seemed a tad convenient. Let me guess. Since Tommy had just broken her heart and her dreams of them living together out on Long Island, and because of the way the show treats women, I can only thinkTommy will walk away and old what's her name will die. Seriously, since they only refer to women in derogatory terms, I can't think of their names. So, we only have one more disc of season 1 remaining, and all of season 2. The trick will be to see if we can space out season 2 over the next 11 months so that we don't have serious withdrawl symptoms. My bet is that we lose patience and watch the entire season in one rain and beer soaked weekend. ok, maybe ae will have a Zima.


gee, I always wondered where Jack White lived

well, I knew it was in Detroit. heck, we were like 2 blocks away when we drove around with my parents during Christmas 2003. btw, it is for sale.

damn! season finale tonight

Yikes, what am I going to do. No more Rescue Me until next summer. This has quickly become my favorite show. ae likes it too. And this is a show that refers to women as "broads, bitches, ass..." you get the picture. I won't even mention the rape scene. Even with all that, it is the most gripping show on television. Denis Leary is very good as the alcoholic firefighter. And the group of guys surrounding him at the firehouse are hilarious. We are backtracking through season 1 on netflix right now. Thanks to Dad for the heads up!


Goodbye Toko and Shion. Thank you for visiting!

we miss you already.

ahhh, I am not the only one...

Actuall, hell is other people. (free site pass needed)



from here.

From: "N.P. Thompson"
Date: August 16, 2006 9:02:01 PM EDT
To: Bryan Curtis, Meghan O'Rourke, Jacob Weisberg
Subject: Slate's "essayists" bring to mind the apes from Kubrick's 2001

Bryan, Jacob, and Meghan (and anyone else who's reading):

So, is compounding your initial mistake (a smug East Coast liberal mistake) going to be your only response?

Stephen Metcalf and Dana Stevens are two of the worst writers on the face of the planet. They are dull, incompetent, lifeless, and narcissistic. Nathan Lee and Michael Agger are scarcely less so, although Agger manages a self-effacing blandness that in the context of Slate emits the fumes of a virtue. Neither individually nor in aggregate do these canned soup hacks do anything to dispel the post-Edelstein doldrums of your film "coverage."

Metcalf, the most brazenly untalented and unsubtle in this quartet of sixteenth-wits, writes like an ape that has just discovered a bone will suffice as a murder weapon. Yet no jump cut could ever propel that lackey into the cosmos.

The dyspeptic hipster Lee (who doesn't write so much as he postures) and the doddering Dana Stevens aren't far behind.

May I quote my all-time favorite Dana-ism? Terrence Malick "hasn't given a real press interview in more than 30 years."

As if critics need press interviews to know how to interpret a work (and as if filmmakers or artists of any stripe have an obligation to give them). Perhaps the full idiocy of Dana's miffed snit would better emerge if we have a round of fill-in-the blank.

Try this: "Erik Satie hasn't given a real press interview in more than 30 years." (Can you imagine the likes of Dana or Metcalf deciphering him if he had?)

Or how about: "Zora Neale Hurston hasn't given a real press interview in more than 30 years."

Maybe we need to go even further back: "Aeschylus hasn't given a real press interview in more than 30 years, or in more than 300 years."

When Metcalf writes, "Match Point is a solid movie, a good solid movie," what does that statement mean? It means nothing, and certainly it tells us nothing about the film, tells us nothing about what the reviewer thought or if, in fact, the cloud of a thought darkened his brow at any time in all 125 minutes of Woody Allen's preposterous trash.

Almost identically, when Metcalf relates that the painfully unamusing Albert Brooks Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World "delivers solid laughs," all the so-called critic reveals here is his woefully meager means of description.

I did not bother to sully myself with Metcalf's recent revisionist assessment of John Ford's The Searchers, though I glanced at blogger Clive Davis's reaction to it. But I can (and will) tell you this: smearing or otherwise spraying graffiti on an established classic is the easiest and most obvious kind of hackwork to fob off as criticism. This type of piece creates the impression — a false impression — that the critic is daring, that he's a heavy-hitter, or in the parlance apropos of a Western, a gunslinger, when in fact the opposite is true: the critic is a creampuff. Such an attention-calling denunciation amounts to chest-beating speciousness at its worst, regardless of whether The Searchers or any film from its era holds up in ours.

What takes genuine courage on the part of a critic is to swim against the tide of the highly praised swill of the present, and this, I suspect, is a type of courage unknown to Metcalf. Where are the much-needed voices of dissent against such garbage as Lost in Translation, Capote, Sideways, The Squid and the Whale, and the collected works of Miranda July and Clint Eastwood? On the flip side, do Slate's "essayists" ever champion or stand up for a film so far off the radar of pre-sanctioned hip that a single fair and honest review might untangle entire ravines of misrepresentation by the rest of the herd?

As Slate will sometimes publish a book review or commentary by Armond White or Stanley Crouch, one gathers that toothlessness in a writer isn't always a condition of employment. How then to account for the uniform awfulness of Slate's film section since Edelstein's departure? How then to account for the myopically prejudicial "old boys' club" atmosphere that deems who will and who won't have "room" in an online publication that's updated daily? (And is losing money anyway.)

Meghan O'Rourke gives the impression that living in a Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhood (preferably Brooklyn, and the more gentrified, the better) is pretty much the lone criterion of worth, and that if one lives outside the bubble, then she isn't going to read what a writer submits, nor will she even consider looking at a writer's clips, and beyond that, neither she nor Bryan Curtis will have the slightest interest in making a new discovery. What we have at Slate are editors hell-bent on preserving the shittiest, shallowest aspects of the status quo by slamming a door on anyone capable of upstaging their friends and neighbors, or their lovers.

And after Meghan has dodged reading your piece, sent you an absent-minded rejection letter that gives her entire show away, she will, in a week's time or so, have her assistant Blake Wilson send a second rejection letter in which he announces that the piece you've submitted "isn't write for Slate." That's w-r-i-t-e when he means r-i-g-h-t.

(Both in content and execution, Meghan and Blake's notes recall the response of a television executive to director Lindsay Anderson's proposed filming of The Cherry Orchard. This was back in the early 90s: "Dear Mr. Chekhov, I am afraid this isn't quite the kind of thing we like to make, but if you do write anything in the future, please let us see it." Well, actually, the television executive was quite a bit nicer to his rejectee.)

Meanwhile, the island these people are living on becomes smaller and smaller, in the literal and metaphorical senses. Meghan appears in the current issue of Oprah at Home where, in the interest of supplying some copy, the Slate "Culture" editor squeaks, "A dream home may be where the heart is, but it can also be where you find the state-of-the-art TV," a reference to her live-in boyfriend's toting over "his 60-inch." And then there's Jacob Weisberg, in the Slate editorial "Dead with Ned," pooh-poohing Lamont's breath-of-fresh-air victory over tired mafioso Joe Lieberman. Weisberg never acknowledges what a complete dud Lieberman is: instead, he trots out the same old "We Democrats have got to be centrists" bit that has never worked, unless, of course, stasis can be considered an accomplishment of some sort. Doesn't it become tougher to believe the vitriolic huffing and puffing of East Coast liberal establishment elites when their appointed flunkies don't even bother to proofread rejection notes for basic spelling errors?

I'd like to thank Bryan and Meghan for one thing: for proving to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that if H.L. Mencken and Dorothy Parker were young writers just starting out today, or late bloomers just starting out today, they wouldn't get anywhere. They wouldn't get published, and they wouldn't have influence. The bravery of their willingness to offend would be lost in the shuffle of good-mannered, well-positioned no-talents who also have a willingness to offend, not by telling the truth, but by lying.


N.P. Thompson


Joe, do we really need to ask?



I agree with this assessment

Kornheiser, Not Yet in Game Shape on 'MNF'

I winced more than anything. Of course, pre-season football is the most wincible of all sporting events, so let's hope Tony gets his act together in the next few weeks.

good '08 presidential rundown

breaking rule number 1 for me, I read Alterman's rundown of the '08 democratic presidential hopefuls. I think Gore should run, although I know it might be too much for him to take to win it again and never sit in the oval office. Too much for all of us to take, that is. If that is the case, Hillary scares me (but is the best chance ever to have a woman president or what?), Obama has fallen off the radar, and Wes Clark never appealed to me. That leaves John Edwards, which according to the article, has the best shot except for:

Sadly, for Edwards and for common sense, the biggest question is whether he looks old enough. Last time around he looked to be barely 30. People need to be reassured by a candidate’s face since for many of them, that’s all the information they need to know to chose their favorite. Edwards needs to start dying his hair a little gray and have some plastic surgery to add a few lines to his face. Alas, I am not kidding.



Dang, I knew this heat was all in my head!

Too Hot or Too cold at Work? Best Bet Is to Chill Out

peets, does this sound familiar?

On the home front, conflict usually rises with the mercury, as people in the same household fight over the thermostat setting. Marital compromises usually leave one party freezing and the other burning up at the same bedroom temperature. At a certain stage of our lives, apparently, we might be willing to concede failure on many fronts, but we are unyielding about what the temperature is and what it ought to be.

looks like Philip K. Dick had a little help

The drugs did work


can this be true?

I just read that one in four Australian children has asthma. It must be true, I read it on the internet.

favorable schedule

Looks like the Badgers have a good chance for a 10-win season this year. fyi, they are not in the pre-season top 25. I see the following as possible hiccups. At Bowling Green (btw, what in the heck is on their helmets), at Michigan (as usual), and Penn State. Kudos to the scheduler who ends the season with Buffalo. (is that SUNY-Buffalo??)

what have you done for me lately?

I believe this is a big mistake. Reminds me when the US left John Harkes off the '98 squad which was a disasterous move. These teams are about the players, not the coaches. I think the UK will hurt from this decision for years to come.

travel to Miami, NY, DC while you can



On Notice!

make you own list here.

U.S. Airline Threat Level Raised to First 'Red'

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terrorists planned to carry liquid explosive devices and hide their detonating devices in commonly carried items like beverages or electronic devices. He said all such items would now be banned from carry-on bags, except for baby formula and medicines, which would have to be inspected.

Why don't the terrorists just plan on bombing an airplane with a St. Christopher's Medal? Then I can go ahead and start pricing RVs?


cool picture

wilco at Lollapalooza in Chicago

new look?

uh, Jeff, we might need to discuss this new look next Wednesday.

V for Good Movie!

finally got to see V for Vendetta last night. I thought it was really well done, interesting, scary, and timely. Even ae glanced at it more than she thought she would. I highly recommend it. We now want to read the graphic novel. Ross, where are you man?


Landis Rekindles Attack on Doping Accusations

I believe him. The clincher for me was when I read a report from scientists that a one-day spike in testosterone would not in any way effect performance. Which was my question from the start. What, he was more manly so he was able to tough it out? Please. Hey, as you know, I usually don't believe blatent, steriod taking cheaters. I continue to propose that the SF Giants should forfeit every game in which Bonds suited up. That would mean stripping them of the their World Ser... Oh, wait a sec.

something funny has happened since we returned from CA. my interntal clock has somehow been reset. In the past, if I didn't set the alarm, I would wake up at 6:15am, no questions asked. I stopped setting the alarm for just this reason. Plus, for some reason, the alarm is on ae's side of the bed, which always required advanced yoga poses to try and turn it off without waking her. Anyway, ever since we got back, I wake up at 7:20. Usually with Finn stirring in her crate. So,
I have to set the alarm again, which sucks, because I always feel much better when I wake up naturally. As we all do, I assume.

How about a surgeon general's warning!

note to razor users: Beware your partner sneaking up behind you while in the shower and shaving. You could lose your head, or at least a lot of blood. yikes.

[not actual picture. my lips are fuller]