Tuesday, January 30, 2007


First of all, I agree with you. I don't like the new picture either.

My cousin Sharif recently lamented that I never write about him. I realize I don't write about anyone in too much detail on this blog. I've discovered there are dangers in saying so much in such a public forum. There was that time in July when XXXXX asked me about XXXXXX and really what was I to say to that?

So, in honor of Sharif, I'll tell a story that involves him tangentially. It's a story about a house he grew up in. A house on a corner.

I tell the story today because I'll be back in the town he grew up in, in the very near future. The reasons for this visit may be discussed here later in the week. There may even be pictures.

My cousin, his brother, and their mother (my aunt) lived in a house on a corner in the city of Orange, California. As a gawky teenager, I used to visit the Orange house. I made a few visits with my family. My final visit - before they abandoned Orange and moved to glitzy Anaheim Hills - was with my friend Patrick.

I liked these visits. During the time of the Orange house, I lived far away - first in Pennsylvania, later in Minnesota. California was new to me. Southern California - specifically early-mid-1980s Orange County - was a strange sunny paradise. The place fascinated me. I found the most interesting things exotic.

Many of my memories involve food (an odd thing considering that my distant memories are best triggered by songs not food). I vividly remember walking from the corner house to a Greek restaurant. It was a fast food place and I was in awe that you could serve Greek food fast. There was a Mexican restaurant that actually put rice in their burritos! I loved that. And most importantly there was Penguin's, the frozen yogurt place.

Penguin's was a burgeoning chain in southern California in the mid-1980s. They were everywhere and for a visiting kid like me, discovering frozen yogurt and its many many toppings was like discovering a new planet, a magical planet where unicorns roamed free and sea otters were known for their architecture, a place where children lived on trees and adults only existed when you needed them (and you could call on them by tossing an acorn into a grassy meadow.)

I liked to get a medium chocolate yogurt (large was too big) with raspberries and chocolate syrup.

Penguin's was always crowded. Orange County was a vast geographical area, seemingly with no center. But on those summer nights, it seemed like Penguin's was the town square. You would take a number upon entering. You would wait. And wait. Waiting was fun. I was usually there with my extended family. We would walk there from the house. Now, there are several people in my family who would be described as "impatient." But we weren't all that stressed or anxious waiting at Penguin's. The place was too full of joy for that to happen - the joy on a child's face upon the first syrupy Oreo-laden spoonful of their sticky pectin-packed swirl of goo, the joy of a contented Orange County housewife realizing that this is what she waited for all her life, to live in the sun-kissed suburbs and have other people make the family dessert, for the dessert to slowly trundle itself out of gleaming stainless steel machines, that it was okay if she didn't truly love her husband, that love was just something for movies and books by Russian authors, that the boy she loved back in high school - let's call him Marshall - wasn't right for her anyway, he was just a rock-and-roller, he lacked direction... no she's happier here.

The yogurt would finally come. And the walk back home on the street I can't remember the name of (perhaps I'll find out tonight) would be even better than the anticipatory walk to Penguin's. The summer sun would be setting. Later I would get to sleep on the floor in the guest room. I loved sleeping on floors. If I wasn't tired enough to sleep, I would curl up on the floor and read the basketball magazine I bought at the liquor store on the walk back (this was also foreign to me - liquor stores that sold sports magazines, liquor stores that would let in non-adults.)

Enough about frozen yogurt - what about the people I was with? Don't they count in my memories? Okay, let me think.

I've got nothing.

Penguin's would eventually over-expand, the chain falling on hard times in the 1990s and today their website doesn't even bother listing the few remaining franchises. I'm pretty sure the Orange location is gone. I've seen a handful around L.A. though, with faded signs and poor parking. As my aunt might say, they just didn't have a coherent business plan... if they only had better TQM. But really would it even matter now that this far superior frozen yogurt place with it's ridiculous website and amazing yogurt is in business?

Once, in the middle of the night, a truck drove into the house on the corner in Orange. No one was hurt. The house suffered some damage. I think they had insurance. I always thought that house was too close to the street.

On my last visit to the house, I went with my friend Patrick. We were both 20. We'd known each other since we were 7 and he was the only kid in my 2nd grade class who didn't tease me about my name or my extreme immigrant shyness. Another one of my cousins, Sandra from Austria, was visiting at the same time. Sandra seemed exotic to Patrick (older, European). To me, she seemed like a more communication-friendly version of my sister. I remember one night when Patrick and Sandra took a walk around the block late at night. They told me they were going out to talk. When they came back in, they were strangely silent. I remember not talking about the walk with either Patrick or Sandra after that.

There was a lot of walking in Orange. On my visit with Patrick, there was a lot of driving too. We went to Disneyland, Tijuana, and Sea World but mostly I remember going to Tower Records in Buena Park, where I stocked up on what I always stock up on: music. But I mostly remember the walking. I also remember listening to a lot of Paul Simon and the Bangles on that trip. Yes I could make a Walk Like an Egyptian joke here but that would be cheap. I also enjoyed the occasional punk and metal band on that visit.

As I said, my aunt and cousins left Orange for Anaheim Hills. Despite the latter's proximity to Sizzler and The Little Professor bookstore, this was a mistake. Not as great a mistake as later leaving Anaheim Hills for fucking Yorba Linda but that's Sharif's story not mine.

(I hold no real malice toward Yorba Linda but that housing development they lived in, with its Mars-like terrain and fake lake, is a terrible place to be a teenager in, as my younger cousins were.)

Was that last sentence gramatically correct? I dont' know.

One more memory of the city of Orange involves seeing Ghostbusters there in the summer of 1984. That was the summer of my big move - from Pennsylvania to Minnesota. I was 18. I had seen the movie twice in Pennsylvania and would see it again in Minnesota. But I clearly remember that third viewing of the best film of the 1980s (Blue Velvet and She's Gotta Have It are close behind.) The whole family was visiting California, some time after the Minnesota move. I was moody, having had to start my life over again. But I was excited about seeing Ghostbusters again (really it's a brilliant film - not just a well-cast financially successful mainstream comedy but a perfectly executed metaphor for Reagan-era America and the decline/ascent of the New Urbanist and yes I just made all that up but it's true.)

I saw the movie in what was then the biggest movie theater with the biggest screen I had ever experienced, on the street whose name I can't remember. And the theater parking lot stretched for miles! Okay not miles - hundreds of feet. I loved that parking lot. Maybe it was because I had just traveled with my family in a caravan of 3 cars from Buckingham, Pennsylvania to Eden Prairie, Minnesota (not making those town names up) and the vastness of America - and thus the parking lot - was comforting to me.

They tore down that theater to build a bigger one, just like they tore down the one I worked at in Edina, Minnesota in the 1980s to build a Barnes & Noble. The Greek restaurant and Penguins are long gone.

And oh yeah I had dinner in Orange in 1996 with that one friend from grad school. What happened to her?

This post needs an ending but I don't know where to find it. I'll end it on a happy note. Orange is still there, with its fruity name and cool Mid-Century architecture and clever pretty curators and why not end this post with this song, one I remember listening to while driving on.... Tustin Avenue!

Friday, January 26, 2007

New look

I've decided to redesign the blog today. I hope you like it - cleaner look, new links, organized links, wider text space, etc. I promise to compensate for the lack of color with more pictures.

Seymour vs. Hercules

I took the online Jeopardy test last night. I think I passed this time. They let you take the test (in-person or online) once a year and this is my 7th attempt. I've passed once (in 2003). Last year's online test was brutal. Now I just have to wait around for them to contact me. The next step is a live "mock game" audition. Then I wait around and hope they call (in 2003 they didn't call.)

I think these two pictures of 20-pound cats prove that Seymour (my cat, on the left) is more "big-boned" than "fat." The cat on the right, Hercules, is apparently a major media star. Here's a story (and here's some video) of his journey.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Subway Story

I know I'm extremely (3 weeks) late on this. But go here to read an amazing story about Wesley Autrey, the New York man who saved a stranger from an oncoming subway train. And here for a long - but fascinating - David Letterman interview with him. I rarely get all sentimental and positive but why not?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You wore no shoes and slept like a leopard

This is a long post. Be sure not to miss my far-underrated celebrity list, two posts below.

I like the way the breeze feels today.

I want to go for a walk. I should just walk. I could go outside and do it.

It's a nice day, a nice breeze.

But I have a lot to write.

This is a long post.

I wrote the following paragraph in 2002, as part of a short story. It's one of my favorite paragraphs. Here it is, out of context:
And so the word “vaginal” hung over Thanksgiving like a storm cloud full moon and whom did everyone look at? Jack, to see if he’s maybe a little embarrassed, to find out if he’s planning to answer the goddamn question? No. The sister-in-law to see exactly what kind of crazy person invokes vaginal yeast at Thanksgiving dinner, with children present? No. Everyone looks at me.
I'm listening to Bonnie "Prince" Billy because the Timberwolves fired their coach. You lose 4 games in a row (the last 3 to very good teams) and I guess that's what happens. But what if they fired their General Manager Kevin McHale? Hmm. Wow. (just keep pressing "click here"... memories.)

I wrote the following paragraph in 2000 about something that happened in 1996 and someone I knew in 1982. Life is timeless. Again, this is part of a longer, more difficult-to-sustain short story:
One night, months later, when it required less effort to ignore what we were dreading anyway, I saw you in a restaurant. You were walking to the ladies’ room and your high shoulders belied the misapprehension I could see in your eyes, for you saw me first. You were holding a small, unlabeled tube in your right hand. I do not know what it held but there were theories from my table mates. But you and I were young, barely people yet, so what could it matter?
Why the fragments? I didn't have a blog in 2002 or 2000. I want to give you pieces of me from back then.

My new #2 song from 2006 is Big Friday by Bonnie "Prince" Billy (yes that's him on the left. no it's not me!)

Why do I love this song? Words like these:
You had light in your hands and your eyes closed
You had movement out of my sight
You wore no shoes and ate like a leopard
And slept with your legs apart every night

They keep asking me to do things. And I keep doing them. I guess that's why they call it a job. Must be why they pay me.

I have no real strong opinions about this morning's Oscar nominations. I have some moderate ones, however:
  • Will Ferrell deserves some sort of "achievement" award for Stranger Than Talledaga Nights: the Legend Fiction of Ricky Bobby.
  • Babel (which I haven't seen) doesn't deserve 8 nominations.
  • Dreamgirls (which I have seen) deserves a Best Picture nomination (based on the fact that "big" movies are the type that get Best Picture nominations.. and that was a good big movie.)
  • Children Of Men deserves more recognition.
  • Judi Dench needs to step aside and make room for Maggie Gyllenhall. Or Marisa Tomei. Or Mary Tyler Moore. Or even Ed Asner
  • TV is better than film.
I like the road between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I like the 5. I like the 101. I like it all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Weekend Videos

Go here for NBC.com's free extended version of last night's episode of The Office.

And here for the trailer for Blades of Glory, the new Will Ferrell figure skating movie.

And here for political columnist Art Buchwald's fascinating video obituary.


Since moving back to the Los Angeles area 4 1/2 years ago I've seen a lot of celebrities, far more than during my first two times living here (1988-1990; 1991-1996). This is because I've spent the past year living in Hollywood (albeit the un-glamorous un-touristy part) and the previous 3 1/2 years in Santa Monica (the not-too-difficult-to-find-parking parts). The famous don't necessarily live on my street but they do go to many of the the places I frequent (coffee shops, restaurants, Whole Foods Markets, high-end and low-end movie theaters). During my previous spell here, I lived in places where celebrities just didn't hang out as much (Brea, Pasadena, Ventura) and places where the celebrities were slightly less celebrated (North Hollywood). But now I can't seem to go a week without seeing some minor TV star from the 90s.

What does this mean? Am I (a well-educated well-mannered academic researcher and obscurist fiction writer/blogger) all that impressed by the fact that others are famous or at least recognizable by up to 12% of the populace? Yes, I am. I like the fact that I can run into Andy Richter twice in a 4-day period (the man is well-mannered, more fit than you'd expect, and a fan of clean white shoes.) I appreciate the fact that people whose contributions to popular culture are generally positive (Jeff Goldblum) forget exactly which floor they parked on (turns out it was the 4rd floor not the 3rd). When I see one of them, the twinge of recognition turns into a trace of bemusement and another one is added to the mental list I've kept for years.

But why can't the mental list become an actual list? Why don't I catalogue the entire list of celebrities I've seen in my life? Would anyone care? Would it be entirely for my own amusement? Would my friends - those in the mostly celebrity-less Midwest as well as those who work waist-deep in the Hollywood fame-pool - care? Well, this is a blog and I don't care if you care. So here is my list of famous people I've seen in my life.

Some rules: unless otherwise indicated, all sightings are in the greater Los Angeles area; seeing celebrities at events where you'd expect to see them - i.e., on stage, backstage, congregating in front of awards shows, on game shows - doesn't count. Neither does Giovanni Ribisi. Here goes:

In coffee shops:
Ed Helms (saw him last night, minutes before his star turn on The Office; he just wanted to use the bathroom, that's all)
Harry Shearer
Christopher Guest
Garry Shandling and David Duchovny (together)
Andy Richter (not too proud to be the guy who fetches 4 coffees for the whole gang back at the production office)
Joey Slotnick
Michael Rapaport (his wife is far more attractive than he deserves)
Brad Hall
Joanna Gleason
Paul Wellstone (in Minneapolis; campaigning for local councilman)*

In restaurants:
Harry Shearer (he's everywhere)
Jane Lynch (that makes 3 people from Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, etc.)
Kristy McNichol and Neil Patrick Harris (at the same restaurant at the same time; not together; seated with members of the same sex)
Julianne Moore (dining alone in New York; far too beautiful for humanity)
Tommy Chong (in Santa Barbara)
Ricky Jay
Dermit Mulroney
Ron Perlman
John Carroll Lynch

Walking down the street:

Joey Pantoliano (hey Joey Pants - cell phones are designed in a way where you can just speak in your normal phone voice and people on the other end will hear you; no need to yell)
Elizabeth Perkins (very nice person)
Caroline Rhea
Louis C.K.
Maggie Gylenhall (walking a dog)
David Schwimmer (jaywalker)
Anthony Keidis (short. very short)
Michael Lerner
Vanessa Williams (in a back alley)

In airports:
Jennifer Aniston (smoking's bad for you Jen)
Vlade Divac

In airport restrooms:
Muhammed Ali (1976; Allentown, PA)*
Laila Ali (1976; on Muhammed's shoulder)

On airplanes:
Beau Bridges (Minneapolis to Chicago)
Cat (Los Angeles to Minneapolis; sat next to me)*

In movie theaters:
Meg Ryan (sitting 2 seats away from me at The Last Shot; eats Runts)
Corey Feldman (one row in front of me at Wayne's World)
Ed Begley Jr. (Forrest Gump)
Jon Polito (Gump again; hugged Begley Jr. in lobby)
Wayne Knight (lobby but NOT at concession stand)
Prince (twice in 1985 in Edina, MN, The Bride and St. Elmo's Fire)
Schwimmer (again)
David Byrne (dude's got style)
Marilyn Manson and Rose MacGowan (together; patiently waited for the next elevator)
Jordan Farmar (currently only Jew in NBA)

At concerts:
Adrian Grenier (at Belle & Sebastian)
Whoopi Goldberg
Ruben Studdard

In their homes:
Rainn Wilson*
Lisa Malone*

At supermarkets:
Christopher Penn (6 days before he died)
Loni Anderson**
Fred Stoller (you'll just have to look him up; I had to)
Paul Sand (him too)
Chris Kattan

In locker rooms:
T.C. Boyle

In bookstores:
Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere (together, back when they were still in love)
Bronson Pinchot (buying war books, LOTS of war books)
Crispin Glover

In other kinds of stores:
Jeffrey Tambor (Sur La Table)
Chris Williams (aka Krazee-Eyez Killa; Nordstrom)

Danny Bonaduce (drives too fast)
Pamela Anderson (twice in dentist office parking lot; always uses her turn signal)
Ted Danson**
Michael Jackson (the singer)**
Paul Stanley (motorcyle)
Jerry Stiller (asshole cut me off; corner of Overland and Venice, Culver City, 2002)

In casinos:
Dennis Quaid (Las Vegas)
Vince Vaughn (Las Vegas)
Jenny McCarthy (Lake Tahoe)
Ricky Williams (Las Vegas)

At smoothie stores:
Bobby McFerrin (Minneapolis)

Walking around lakes:
Bobby McFerrin (Minneapolis)

At hotels:
Lou Ferrigno (Rome)

In parking structure elevator lobbies:
Lauren Graham (wearing a beret)

On elevators:
Jeff Goldblum (6'8", with a 6'3" girlfriend or wife; he brushed up against my date)

While working in Bloomington, Minnesota hotel gift shop, 1986-1987:
Gloria Estefan (I saved her credit card receipt as a souvenir)
Smokey Robinson (nice man)*
Several Harlem Globetrotters
Richie Sambora
Dan Baird (wanted to buy condoms; we didn't sell condoms (the 80s were a conservative time))
Charlie Daniels (today he comes across a right-wing good-ole-boy; back then he wore a full-length purple leather coat that could best be described as "flamboyant")

In mall parking structures:

Sitting in old Volvo while friend fetches coffee:

In office buildings:

Lucy Liu
Patricia Arquette

At holiday parties:
Eve Plumb*

*had conversations with these people

I know this list is not complete. I will remember more. Friends will remind me of more. So keep checking for updates.

And to answer your question:
Who's Cat?

One more list: If I had to rank my Top 10 Sightings, they'd have to be:
1. Ali
2. Lauren Graham (personal reasons)
3. Andy Richter
4. Stew
5. Cat (she gave me an advance tape of Sign O' the Times)
6. Lucy Liu (we had a thing)
7. David Byrne
8. Julianne Moore
9. Prince
10. Slotnick

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I woke to frost on my windshield this morning. In Los Angeles. Sure, I was able to defrost within a minute but it still was a surprise. It's supposed to warm up soon. We'll survive this. I know we will.

Unexpected book recommendation of the week: The Keep by Jennifer Egan. Don't let the preposterous use of light and shadow in her author photo fool you - she's a great writer.

I watched a lot of football this past weekend. I've watched my normal amount of basketball over the past month. I'm struck by how much more I enjoy basketball than football. I'll always take a well-thought-out combination of grace, power, precision, style, and speed (NBA) over an slightly forced/programmed combination of power, speed, and ridiculous self-seriousness (NFL).

In good news, Barack Obama essentially announced his candidacy for president this morning. It's not too early to think about 2008. (And it's not too late to wonder what went wrong in 2000 and 2004 either. I have many theories.) (And I still have some thoughts about '84.)

And Happy Birthday to one of my long-time readers.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Seven 2006 Top 5 Lists in Non-Reverse Order, Without Links!

Top 5 Movies of 2006

1. Mutual Appreciation
2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
3. Children of Men
4. Stranger Than Fiction
5. Nacho Libre

Top 5 Songs

1. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
2. Hot Soft Light - The Hold Steady
3. Rivers - Sleeping States
4. Stars Are Blind - Paris (Hilton)
5. The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance

Top 5 Songs From 2005 That I Didn't Hear Until 2006

1. Wind and the Mountain - Liz Phair
2. Virginia - Vic Chessnut
3. Table For One - Liz Phair
4. Fake Tales of San Francisco - Arctic Monkeys
5. Why I Lie - Liz Phair

Top 5 TV Shows

1. The Office
(the current season is the best season for any show in the history of seasons)
2. The Wire
3. The Sopranos
4. The Daily Show
5. 30 Rock

Top 5 Albums

1. Boys and Girls in America - The Hold Steady
2. Bitter Honey - Eef Barzelay
3. The Liife Pursuit - Belle & Sebastian
4. Ys - Joanna Newsom
5. Return to Cookie Mountain - TV on the Radio

Top 5 Turkey Burgers

1. Earwax Cafe, Chicago
2. The Craftsman, Minneapolis
3. (tie) Solly's, Sherman Oaks*
3. (tie) Jerry's, Studio City*
5. Medici, Chicago
*it's the same burger!

Top 5 Books I Read in 2006
1. On Beauty - Zadie Smith
2. Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
3. Love is a Mix Tape - Rob Sheffield
4. Laurel Canyon - Michael Walker
5. The Time of Our Singing - Richard Powers

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I watched my first nearly-complete Timberwolves game of the season on TV last night (vs. the Clippers). I was reminded of a few things: the sheer beauty of the NBA, the amazing talent of Kevin Garnett, the seemingly random (but not) variability of basketball (Garnett missed an open shot that would have won the game; it missed by millimeters and it wasn't luck that made it bounce off the back of the rim), the joy in watching two good (not great) teams, and Sam Cassell's odd facial structure. Overall, it was a fun time but with a sad ending.

I love the iPod. I just wanted to say that.

My favorite song of right now. It needs to be heard three consecutive times before it kicks in.

My oft-mentioned (in conversation, not in the blog) resolution to run a marathon this year is still in effect. It won't be easy though. The first week of training was a breeze. My shins and lower back, rested after months of not running, felt no pain and said to me: "bring it on, we can take it!" But the repetition of every-other-day running has taken its toll and I've conceded that I need 2 or 3 days rest between runs. I'm not a young man anymore. I'm merely a young-ish man who looks good for his age.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Children of Mix Tapes

I've been asked to provide new material here. I've been told I'm lax in my posting and my provision of links.

How about a radio piece on Ron Sexsmith, back with a new album? Or a Franz Ferdinand lead singer interview?

Or the funniest thing I've ever read? Not exactly timely (I've linked to it before) but wow.

Here's the best memoir I've read in recent memoir-y. I recommend it highly.

And the best movie I've seen since... since this or maybe this or how about this? Yes, that's my Top 4 for 2006.

And Idolator's great 2006 Jackin' Pop poll. Their #3 album is my #1 album. Their #1 album is my #47 album. Their #1192 album is my #2 album. Their #1 song is my #1 song. And who decided to call songs "tracks"? I like "songs" better.

And if you're a puzzle-obsessed person like me, this will keep you occupied. Look for the January 7 / January 14 puzzle.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cultural Learnings

For your Friday enjoyment, a really good Sacha Baron Cohen interview on Fresh Air. Listen to it all. It's pretty fascinating. You will like.

Plus, did you know that the guy who played Borat's producer/travel partner owns a French dip stand in Sherman Oaks?

And proof that I bought the right T-shirt.

Years That End In Seven (a poem)

Years that end in seven
Have always
Been good to me

In '67 I was wee
Picking mangos off the tree
In Old Alexandria
Yes it's true, that was me
The house on the corner is still there
The ghosts in the courtyard still scare
I don't live there anymore

'77 was the year of Aja
And Hotel California
I walked down to the candy store
By the yard where they kept the horse
In Buckingham with its brittle bones
Its burnt house hills
Its early touch tone phones

'87 was me and Keesha
In Minneapolis with its new restaurants
Downtown turned upside down
The one-way transforming uptown
And by the lake, the Malt Shop
Made us shakes and soup
To cool us down in summer
To keep us warm in winter
Or both at once in spring

In '97 I was back in town
A poet in Golden Gopher grad school
Studying Greek letter formulas in the morning
Writing abstract verse in the snowy afternoon
The strange familar swoon
The same feeling sinister tune
'97 was nice

2007 is here now
Five days gone, I've run five miles
I've slept enough to sleep
I've kept up the upkeep
Years that end in seven
Have been good
This one will be no exception

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Finishing the List

You know... I promised the Top 15 Love Songs of All Time a few weeks ago. I gave you #15 through #3. What about the Top 2?

Here they are.

2. Summer Guest - Sigmund Snopek III

It may seem like a cop-out to put an instrumental here, especially a short sweet piano-and-drum brush instrumental like this one. I discuss Sigmund in more detail in my 12/30/06 entry. Today, I'll just say this: this is the perfect soundtrack to the feeling of love, if not the expression of love.

1. There Is No Number One.

The greatest love song of all time has not yet been written.

Some of you may suggest this song. Yes it's a lovely sentiment. But it has not yet stood the test of time. It's not quite timely anymore, with the holiday season being over. The instructions are very helpful though, especially the part about the hole in the box.

Others may suggest this song. Yes, it's the best song of 2006 but I haven't quite figured out what it means yet. And I don't think he's crazy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Truth, Fiction, and Retreat

If you asked me 10 years ago which media figure would become America's most critically astute political commentator, I wouldn't have guessed Keith Olbermann. But watch this commentary on George Bush and Iraq from last night. Wow. Ten minutes of Truth. Watch it until the angry end. "You do not own this country." I love the part about the corollary not necessarily being true. And the pink tie.

I have another story on Eclectica, People on the Other Side. Enjoy it. It's a freaky one. There's lots of other good stuff on that site.

Pop Matters has a great Best Albums of 2006 list. It bests Pitchfork's list only because it gives you videos of most of the artists on the list (and audio for many of the others).

And there's something else that I want to link to. But I just can't. I'm taking the moral high ground here.