East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Take 7

Voice poll is up. A History of Violence won't win the Film Comment poll so easily, but it'll still be the consensus choice of the smart critics, as opposed to Brokeback, the choice of the moderately intelligent critics, or Kong, the choice of the dumb critics. Clearly I'm wearing the dunce's cap this year.

What's the sound of a 10-ton gorilla smacking you on the noggin? KONG.

Well that was the moviest movie in the history of moviedom. Not sure if it's an A or an A+, but it's somewhere in the year's top five. Ask me on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Exclusive! Bob Dylan's first XM playlist

Henry and Ermine Burnett, "Peggy's on the Trail"
Rev. Lamar Martin, "Jacob Farmer"
The New Orleans Joneses, "The Butcher's Sweet Cherie"
Frank Harper's Good Time Orchestra, "Tuesday Blues"
Kelston Rainsford, "Indian Rabbit Song"
Blind Kenny Williams, "Gonna Die on That Ol' Road"
Uncle John Samuels, "Mississippi Hammer Town"
The Herbert Brothers, "Sun's a-Risin'"


The Chaser: "Cronulla Beach holds State of Origin clash"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Globe noms are out; Munich, King King get served

Weird list. Early predix:

Drama: Brokeback Mountain. Won't be close.
Drama actress: Charlize Theron is the star, but two in three years? Since it seems like the designated year of the LBGT, maybe Felicity Huffman instead.
Drama actor: Heath Ledger.
Comedy/musical: Walk the Line.
Comedy actress: Reese Witherspoon.
Comedy actor: Joaquin Phoenix.
Foreign: Kung Fu Hustle.
Supporting actress: Close. Rachel Weisz is due.
Supporting actor: Bob Hoskins.
Director: Ang Lee.
Screenplay: Crash.

In terms of the Oscars, unless Spielberg can pull off a late run, it looks like a duel between Brokeback and Walk the Line, with Brokeback the hot-as-Jake Gyllenhaal favourite. Ledger, Witherspoon and maybe Hoskins are already writing their speeches. Supporting actress looks like the most interesting race: Weisz and Michelle Williams might split the Globe and Oscar.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Mel Gibson for Governor

So the right is acknowledging Schwarzenegger is toast. Gibson is unelectable: for all Arnie's flaws, he's at least had the wisdom not to come off as a nutjob in public. It'd be funny if Mel ran, though.

(c.f. 2003: "Arnie is unelectable, but it'd be funny if he ran.")

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Season of riots: Is it still fun when white people do it?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

NYT best books

I've read two of the fiction picks. Ian McEwan's Saturday is up to his usual standards, even though I can't find merit in his justification for ambivalence about the war. Zadie Smith's On Beauty is a disappointment: like her character Carl, she's become so wrapped up in proving herself to the intelligensia (this is a real, literary novel! Based on Forster!) that's she's left behind what made her vital in the first place. Still, anyone who thinks you should never, ever sing U2 songs a cappella will find something to cheer.

RIP Richard Pryor

You ever heard? The niggers had the biggest dicks in the world and they were trying to find a place where they could have their contest, see. And they wasn't no freaks; they didn't want everybody looking. So they were walking around, looking for a secret place. So they were walking across the Golden Gate Bridge and the nigger sees that water and it makes him want to piss, see. One said, "Man, I got to take a leak." He pulled his thing out and was pissing. Other nigger pulled his out and took a piss. And one nigger says, "Goddamn, this water cold!"

Other nigger says, "Yeah, and it's deep, too!"


For a moment last night I thought I was vomiting blood. On closer inspection it was semi-digested salmon.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

99 Lives

Now that I've finally resolved the year-long duel for the number one spot (heart vs soul, soul won, and besides, she's half-Korean), here are my 99 favourite songs of the year. (Actually lots from 2004, one from 2003, and a few going back as far as 1957.) I'll put together the MP3 compilation this weekend; email me if you want a copy (although most of you reading are going to get one regardless).
  1. Amerie, 1 Thing
  2. Kelly Clarkson, Since U Been Gone
    "shut your mouth i just can't take it"
  3. My Chemical Romance, I'm Not Okay (I Promise)
    "the photographs your boyfriend took/remember when you broke your foot/from jumping off the second floor"
  4. New Order, Waiting for the Sirens' Call
    "all the stars and all the worlds/filling up this universe/can never be as close as us"
  5. M.I.A., 10 Dollar
    "what can i get for 10 dollar/anything you want"
  6. Switchfoot, Stars
    "stars looking at a planet/watching entropy and pain"
  7. Annie, Chewing Gum
    "you've got it all wrong/you think you're chocolate when you're chewing gum"
  8. Damian Marley, Welcome to Jamrock
    "poor people are dead at random/political violence can done/pure ghost and phantom/the youth them get blind by stardom"
  9. Sleater-Kinney, Entertain
    "you come around sounding 1972/you did nothing new with 1972/where's the fuck you"
  10. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?
    "before a girl like me can move on"
  11. Fabolous, Breathe
    "then you gotta uucgghhh"
  12. Brad Paisley, Alcohol
    "i'll bet you a drink or two that i can make you put that lampshade on your head"
  13. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Diamonds from Sierra Leone (remix)
    "over here it's a drug trade we die from drugs/over there they die from what we buy from drugs"
  14. Martha Wainwright, Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
    "no idea how it feels to be on your own/in your own home/with the fucking phone"
  15. Snow Patrol, Spitting Games
    "it's not as if I need the extra weight"
  16. Art Brut, Emily Kane
    "i want schoolkids on buses signing your name"
  17. Art Brut, Good Weekend
    "i've seen her naked twice"
  18. William Onyeabor, Better Change Your Mind
    "canada do you ever think this world is yours eh/and you britain yeah you ever think this world is yours"
  19. T.I., Bring Em Out
    "what other rap nigga hooder than this/i got rich and i'm still on some hooligan shit"
  20. John Prine, She Is My Everything
    "she uses eveready/batteries to keep her electrical appliances going steady"
  21. M.I.A., Galang
    "they say rivers gonna run though/work is gonna save you/pray and you will pull through/suck a dick'll help you"
  22. Vijay Iyer, Revolutions
  23. Missy Elliott ft. Ciara & Fatman Scoop, Lose Control
    "systematic ecstatic/this hit be automatic"
  24. Robbie Fulks, Countrier Than Thou
    "fifty percent less tarheel armchair arkansan"
  25. Three 6 Mafia ft. Young Buck, Eightball and MJG, Stay Fly
    "it's purple purp purple purp purple/and swallow it down with the yurple yip yurple yip yurples"
  26. Papa Wemba, Mère Supérieure
    "ah kole koleka"
  27. Courtney Love, Sunset Strip
    "it's not punk it's not cool/it's not even boring/and it's not eminem who's gonna save me"
  28. Kanye West ft. Nas Really Doe, We Major
    "high off the ground from stair to skyscraper/cool off thinking we local come on homey we major"
  29. Living Things, Bombs Below
    "where do all the dead boys go/no solution just bombs below"
  30. The New Pornographers, Star Bodies
    "for you there's not any warning/and love is five in the morning"
  31. Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Police People
  32. Sleater-Kinney, Modern Girl
    "i took my money and bought a donut/the hole's the size of this tired old world"
  33. Annie, Heartbeat
    "oh what a hit/of a loving heartbeat/that's electricity"
  34. Todd Snider, The Ballad of the Kingsmen
    "ahmayaaah makaaaah aahh ooohoooh aaaaah/well that last part scared everybody from the pta to the fbi"
  35. Courtney Love, Mono
    "give us brilliant boys we wanna fuck/full of ecstasy hard drugs and bad luck"
  36. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock and Roll
    "i can't stand the sound of the velvet underground"
  37. M.I.A., Amazon
    "hello this is m.i.a./would you please come get me"
  38. The Like, June Gloom
    "it takes so much more/for anyone to say/we need another way"
  39. The Chemical Brothers ft. The Magic Numbers, Close Your Eyes
    "what if it all were to change love/i thought it would"
  40. Paul Wall ft. Big Pokey, Sittin' Sideways
    "open mouth and showcase ice/and you gon see about twenty carats"
  41. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, Sweet and Lovely
  42. Brain Failure, Listen to My Back (That's What I Know)
    "all he knows/he wants some money/he wants some money yeah"
  43. The Hold Steady, Stevie Nix
    "the way the whispers bit like fangs in the last hour of the parties/lord to be thirty-three forever"
  44. The Go-Betweens, The Statue
    "they say ice can melt/marble will blind you"
  45. Juelz Santana & Fabolous, So What's It Gonna Be?
    "i'm not kobe bryant/it's a yes or no answer"
  46. John Prine, Some Humans Ain't Human
    "or you're feeling your freedom/and the world's off your back/some cowboy from texas/starts his own war in iraq"
  47. Buck 65, Centaur
    "way out of proportion my heart is the warmest/unfortunately for me my private part is enormous"
  48. M.I.A., Pull Up the People
    "i've got the bombs to make you blow/i got the beats to make you bang"
  49. The Field, Love vs. Distance
  50. Gogol Bordello, Think Locally Fuck Globally
    "i came to new york to start gypsy punk revolt/now that it's rockin' so why don't i just go home"
  51. Robbie Fulks, Fountains of Wayne Hotline
    "slightly distorted melodic guitar solo"
  52. Mario, Let Me Love You
    "everywhere you go they stop and stare/'cuz you're bad and it shows"
  53. The Game & 50 Cent, Hate It or Love It
    "daddy ain't around probably out committing felonies/my favorite rapper used to sing 'check check out my melody'"
  54. The Killers, Mr. Brightside
    "swimming through sick lullabies/choking on your alibis"
  55. New Order, Krafty
    "but out the world is a beautiful place/with mountains lakes and the human race"
  56. Mike Jones ft. Slim Thug and Paul Wall, Still Tippin'
    "blowing on the indo/game cube nintendo/five percent tint so you can't see up in my window"
  57. Blackalicious, Powers
    "i wanna get in her space"
  58. Lady Sovereign, Random
    "some english mcs get it twisted/start saying cookies instead of biscuits"
  59. Lyrics Born, Do That There (Young Einstein Hoo-Hoo mix)
    "i met a hermit named kermit mcdermitt with a learner's permit"
  60. Gretchen Wilson, Homewrecker
    "honey i'm a christian/but if you keep it up/i'm a-gonna go to kicking/your pretty little butt"
  61. Tegan and Sara, Take Me Anywhere
    "short on all the things i don't want/i'm full of love and longing"
  62. Brandy ft. Kanye West, Talk About Our Love
    "they just running their mouth/so all we do is tune them out"
  63. Brakes, Heard About Your Band
    "you know the girl from sleater-kinney/you said you couldn't understand/why it was that she continued to play/when she was only earning ten grand p.a."
  64. Art Brut, Moving to LA
    "everything's gonna be just fine/i hear the murder rate it's in decline"
  65. Amadou et Mariam with Manu Chao, La Realitè
    "il faut alors que tandis que certains dorment/d'autres veillent c'est la triste réalité/mais dansons ensemble"
  66. Kanye West, Roses
    "i asked the nurse did you do the research/she ask me 'can you sign some t-shirts'/bitch is you smokin reefer"
  67. DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo, B Side Wins Again (2005)
    "food for the brain, beats for the feet/people on the dance floor/never claimin' a receipt"
  68. Vijay Iyer, Phalanx
  69. Bruce Springsteen, Devils & Dust
    "what if what you do to survive/kills the things you love/fear's a powerful thing"
  70. The Go-Betweens, Darlinghurst Years
    "debbie bertie people came and went/and then there was suzie/who we never ever saw again"
  71. Happy Apple, Starchild Cranium
  72. Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, The Good Life
  73. The Legendary K.O., George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People
    "making a killing off the price of gas/he would have been up in connecticut twice as fast"
  74. Lyrics Born, I Changed My Mind (Rattlesnake mix)
    "the things you say try to underrate me/they were just some reflection of your self-respect"
  75. Common ft. Kanye West & Last Poets, The Corner
    "where struggle and greed fight/we write songs about wrong 'cuz its hard to see right"
  76. Buck 65, Cries a Girl
    "i saw diamonds divide in the corner of her eyes"
  77. The Decemberists, We Both Go Down Together
    "i come from wealth and beauty/untouched by work or duty"
  78. Vernon Reid, Brilliant Corners
  79. Blaine Larsen, The Best Man
    "though I didn't have much to compare him to"
  80. The Juan MacLean, Tito's Way
    "take a good look/look out you're hooked"
  81. Papa Wemba, Kitima
    "chick chicka chicka"
  82. M83, Don't Save Us from the Flames
  83. Kings of Leon, Slow Night So Long
    "she's frenching out the flavour/she's seventeen but I done went and plum forgot it"
  84. Loudon Wainwright III, My Biggest Fan
    "he knows the story of my whole cheesy life/the name of each kids ex-girlfriend and wife"
  85. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, Blue Monk
  86. DJ C, Billy Jungle
    "because the lie becomes the truth"
  87. R. Kelly, Your favourite chapter of Trapped in the Closet, let's say number 2
    "i can't believe it's a man"
  88. Moby and Public Enemy, MKLVFKWR
    "power to the people 'cuz the people want peace"
  89. Malouma, Jraad
    "billi bafe ilma"
  90. Tweet ft. Missy Elliott, Turn Da Lights Off
    "let's grab a glass let's make a toast to me"
  91. Federation ft. E-40, Hyphy
    "make a baby mama slap her baby's daddy"
  92. The Chris Stamey Experience, Venus
    "there stood another person who was a little surprised/to be face to face with a world so alive"
  93. Compagnie Jellouli & Gdih, Al Jbal Li Dargoug Aaaliya
    "hey yow w'hey ya"
  94. Madonna, Hung Up
    "time goes by so slowly for those who wait"
  95. Sleater-Kinney, Jumpers
    "the golden spine of engineering"
  96. Christina Milian, Dip It Low
    "poke it out like your back broke"
  97. Sufjan Stevens, Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
    "if you got the patience/celebrate the ancients"
  98. New Order, Turn
    "the walls are tumbling down/they're falling like the leaves"
  99. Prince, Musicology
    "if it ain't chuck d or jam master jay/know what they're losing/'cuz we got a phd/in advanced body moving"
BONUS! The CD comp will also include my faves from 2004:
  1. Mya/Chingy, Fallen (Barbershop 2 remix)
  2. The Walkmen, The Rat
  3. Eminem, Mosh
  4. Van Hunt, Dust
  5. Kanye West, Never Let Me Down
  6. Le Tigre, New Kicks
  7. Rilo Kiley, Portions for Foxes
  8. Dusty Drake, One Last Time
  9. Nellie McKay, Clonie
  10. Le Tigre, I'm So Excited
  11. R. Kelly, Happy People
  12. Kanye West, Jesus Walks
  13. Sleepy Brown, I Can't Wait
  14. The Mountain Goats, Palmcorder Yajna
You can't wait, you can't wait.

Free market journalism comes to Iraq

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Game theory

For the first time in weeks I do some decent writing, in this comments thread on game criticism.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I've chosen my top 99 songs of the year, though I'm still tinkering with the order in advance of preparing the MP3 compilation coming at you soon. In the meantime, here are the nearly-made-its, all songs I love, but more like cousins than nuclear family. (Includes many songs from last year I missed or didn't listen to closely enough back then.)
  • Akon, Lonely
  • Amadou et Mariam, Djanfa
  • Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Seik Kyu Ahla (first version)
  • Beastie Boys, That's It That's All
  • Ciara, Oh
  • Ciara, 1 2 Step
  • Daddy Yankee, La Gasolina
  • Dizzee Rascal, Stand Up Tall
  • El-P/The Blue Series Continuum, When the Moon Was Blue*
  • Fieldwork, Transitions
  • Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out**
  • Robbie Fulks, If They Could Only See Me Now
  • Robbie Fulks, I'm Gonna Take You Home and Make You Like Me***
  • The Futureheads, Hounds of Love
  • Ghostface ft. Jadakiss, Run
  • The Go-Betweens, Boundary Rider
  • Gogol Bordello, Underdog World Strike
  • Jerry Granelli, Nolan
  • Gucci Mane ft. Young Jeezy & Boo, Icy****
  • The Hold Steady, Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
  • Miranda Lambert, Kerosene
  • LCD Soundsystem, Yeah (Crass version)
  • Living Things, I Owe
  • Buddy Miller, Worry Too Much
  • Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, Nutty
  • Mos Def, Ghetto Rock
  • The Mountain Goats, Dance Music
  • Nas ft. Olu Dara, Bridging the Gap
  • Nas, These Are Our Heroes
  • New Order, Working Overtime
  • Northern State, Girl for All Seasons
  • Papa Wemba, Télégramme
  • William Parker Quartet, Groove
  • William Parker Quartet, Wood Flute Song
  • The Perceptionists, Career Finders
  • Chris Potter Quartet, 7.5
  • Public Enemy, Hell No We Ain't All Right
  • Amy Rigby, Dancing with Joey Ramone
  • Roswell Rudd, Buryat Boogie
  • William Shatner ft. Joe Jackson, Common People*****
  • Ashlee Simpson, Boyfriend******
  • Sileni, Twitchy Droid Leg
  • SLK, Hype Hype
  • Will Smith, Ms. Holy Roller
  • Todd Snider, Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White American Males*******
  • Gwen Stefani, Hollaback Girl
  • Tinariwen, Alkah Dessouf
  • Twista, Overnight Celebrity
  • The Veronicas, 4Ever
  • Yohimbe Brothers, More from Life
  • Young Jeezy ft. Jay-Z, Go Crazy
* Sometimes this seems exceptionally beautiful. Other times it pisses me off that it's out of fucking key.
** It took me an age to get into this. Made me work harder at their new album, which I prefer even though no one song jumps out.
*** "Gemütlichkeit"!
**** Really thought hard about putting this in, but I couldn't in good conscience include a song with the lyric "I'm the shit bitch, I need toilet paper".
***** Yeah it's funny, but everybody hates a tourist.
****** I would point out the irony of Ashlee instructing us not to "put words up in my mouth", but I like her.
******* As opposed to "tree hugging, peace loving, pot smoking, porn watching lazy ass hippies like me".

RE-EDIT: OK, so I shouldn't claim to have finalised things until I really have. Will continue editing this for a few days.