Prescription: Stevie Wonder

Whenever I feel depressed, I remind myself to listen to some Stevie Wonder. Because even when he sings a sad song, even one heavily bowed down by hopelessness, a glimmer of the underlying ecstasy and hope that once existed still remains. On top of it all, it’ll probably come with the added bonus of a great harmonica solo: Continue reading

Let Them Eat Whale

mmmm, whale burgers!The subjects of the TV show “Whale Wars” are idiots.

Chief dope among the crew of the Steve Erwin is captain Paul Watson, one of the founders of Greenpeace who got kicked out for being too radical. In the show, Watson leads a band of land-lubbing sailors into battle against a fleet of Japanese whaling ships, intent on throwing enough stink bombs at them to stop their rape of the seas (this show runs on Animal Planet).

Only here’s the thing—they’re not really raping the seas. The Japanese fleet takes a total of about 935 Minke Whales and 50 Fin Whales each year. The International Whaling Commission estimated there are as many as 45,000 Fin and over a million Minke Whales in the sea (Correction below). Compare that tiny harvest to humans’ ability to decimate stocks of Atlantic Cod, Salmon, or Blue Fin Tuna, and what the Japanese are doing looks like a study in sustainable fishing.
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The difficult I’ll do right now

Here is a clip that I’ve been loving for quite a few months now. When Fallout 3 hit at the end of October, I was completely hypnotized by the licensed tracks that your character can listen to being broadcast from the heart of the DC Wasteland, relayed through a radio antenna at the top of the Washington Monument. Some of these songs are appreciated ironically, what with the retrograde gender and racial politics of their lyrics resting on beds of chipper accompaniment. But one song always genuinely broke my heart, particularly when it came on at night as my character trekked lonesomely from one blasted-out building to another Continue reading

James Jamerson

James Jamerson is the finest bass player in the history of recorded music. I know that sort of declaration is usually pretty absurd, but I can’t listen to the first half of Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On without almost crying, and I think it’s Jamerson’s fault. Oh I guess the singing and the hand percussion and the sweeping strings might be the culpable too, but it’s that endlessly swirling, syncopated bassline that burrows right into my spine and rides the nerves right out to my hands and feet and fingers and toes. Continue reading

I’m in trouble again…

Pursuant with our goals to improve the caliber this thing and heighten its beneficence for the culture of humanity, here is a clip of Joni Mitchell singing Help Me, one of her biggest hits, I think, but also the perfect marriage between her early ’70s pop sensibilities and the slippery melodies and unexpected harmonies that characterize her best works. Plus, her singing is remarkable, delicate, but with commanding control.

The Ballad of Emily Gould,

…or How Being a Blogger Can Chew You Up and Spit You Out

Emily Gould, former editor of has an interestingly self-indulgent piece in this Sunday’s NYT Magazine. I have never and probably will never ascend to the levels of blogging celebrity that she has, as former editor of Gawker Media’s flagship blog Gawker. But I blog twice a day (for money. Not here, obviously) and I can say this: much of what she writes in the article is true — blogging has a way of consuming some portion of your brain. After you do it long enough, firing up your computer and spitting out a post becomes as reflexive as that little kick your leg gives when a doctor hits your knee.

Gould’s a good writer for being just 27 years old, and she does a handy job of being a fly on the wall of her own panic-stricken existence during her time as blogging celebrity and gossip extraordinaire (Gawker’s like US Weekly, except snarkier). But she never said whether she thought being a blogger was a good thing or bad — simply that it happened.

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Ah, the name is Bootsy…

This is a clip of the man who, anecdotally, gets called the funkiest player alive. They say, give him a stick and some ground to stamp on, and he could make that funky. Continue reading

Yeah, yeah, uh huh, Lord, Lord…

The following are the names of the members of one of the best funk combos of all time: “Master” Henry Gibson (percussion), Joseph “Lucky” Scott (bass), Craig McMullen (guitar) and Tyrone McCullen (drums). You probably never have heard of them, although watch them in this clip below from 1973 and you’ll probably recognize both the song they’re playing and the singer who fronts them: Continue reading

I’m Brit Winterknee… I’ll tell ya the story

Not too many people today remember Clementine Rubarb from Corn Tree Bluff, New Hampsher, but residents of Corn Tree Bluff certainly do. They remember the day she played hooky from the one-room school house down on Tricklepee Creek and invented the recumbent hobby horse in a field out behind the old Nickelkettle farm. 100 years latah, that invention would become the backbone of the Apollo Space progrum. I’m Brit Winterknee, and I’ll tell ya the story tonight on New England Chronicles…

Behind me is an old outhouse, pretty similar to any of the outhouses that dot the New Hampsher wilderness like musciphalias robustial—the vibrant and virulently poisonous Weeweecap Toadstool. Continue reading

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Roots

I apologize for my utter neglect of this blog. I’m sure anyone who reads it (no one) will grant me the understanding and forgiveness I clearly deserve.

And I’m gonna turn over a new leaf… Continue reading