Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Dude Abides

It's never too early to start that Christmas wish list, and here's the latest to make mine: I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You, and it even comes with a complete forward written by none other than the dude himself. Quoting Jeff Bridges here (and you can read from the actual link by clicking here):

"People often ask me if I'm surprised at the amount of attention The Big Lebowski has received over the past few years. They usually seem to expect me to say "yes," but my answer is always "no". What surprises me is that it didn't do as well as I thought it would when it first came out. It was so damn funny, and the Coen brothers had just won the Academy award for Fargo - I thought people would flock to this thing. To tell you the truth, I was sort of disappointed. But now ... well ... I'm glad people are digging it, that it found its audience."

"People will sometimes ask me, "What is it about, this movie? I can't figure it out - how come people like it so much?" Well, that one's a little tougher to answer. I usually point them toward the script, to what the Stranger says at the end of the movie. I think the Stranger's enjoyment of the story sums up what most people like about it:
"I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there, the Dude, takin' her easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the Finals. Welp, that about does her, wraps her all up. Things seem to've worked out pretty good for the Dude'n Walter, and it was a purty good story, dontcha think? Made me laugh to beat the band. Parts, anyway. Course -I didn't like seein' Donny go. But then, I happen to know that there's a little Lebowski on the way. I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself, down through the generations, westward the wagons, across the sands a time until - aw, look at me, I'm ramblin' again. Wal, uh hope you folks enjoyed yourselves."
What's great about that is how it says it all without really saying anything. Maybe that's one reason people dig the movie and are able to watch it over and over again. It's like picking up a kaleidoscope. You see something new each time."

"Then there's this perspective. A few years ago I met a guy named Bernie Glassman. Bernie started an organisation called the Zen Peacemakers and has founded a number of Zen centres in the United States. He calls his brand of Zen Farkatke Zen. He's a Jewish fella, a wonderful cat."

"Anyway, we got to talking, and he said, "You know, a lot of folks consider the Dude a Zen Master." I said, 'What are you talking about? Zen?' He said quite a few people had approached him wanting to chat about the Dude's Zen wisdom. I'd never heard of that.
I never thought of the Coen Brothers as Zen guys. They never talked about it. I don't think the word Zen was ever mentioned, or Buddhism, or Judaism, for that matter. I don't think of the Dude as a fancy spiritualist or anything like that. But I can see what these folks are talking about. There's enough room in the movie that a lot can be read into it.

For me, the Dude has a certain type of wisdom. I like to call it the "Wisdom of Fingernails": the wisdom that gives you the ability to make your hair and fingernails grow, your heart beat, your bowels move. These are things that we know how to do, but we don't necessarily know how we know how to do them, yet still we do them very well. And that to me is very Dude. It's not like he's a know-it-all, the Dude. He's not a guy who has figured out the way to be or anything like that, but he is comfortable with what he's got, and, as the Stranger says, things turn out pretty well for him. I guess we can all take comfort in that because - who knows? - things may turn out pretty well for us, too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Could Be Prettyyyyyyyyyy....Pretty Good

Prettyyyyy, pretty good link here to what the future might involve at HBO, and frankly things are suddenly looking up. In a nutshell:?
  1. James Gandolfini is privately the most generous man in the world, at least accoring to our new friends at "Uncle Barky's".
  2. Nobody at HBO really knows about how Gandolfini's old show ended, and all the show's star wanted to do was talk about how much he appreciates war veterans.
  3. It doesn't matter what it takes, Kevin Dillon is going to go the extra mile to make you forget he's Matt Dillon's brother.
  4. For all of us worried that Larry David would just pack in 10-episodes and call it a day, turns out Laurie David vs. Larry David is on the horizon. Larry's already bitching about how he's going to need more money, which means you know what the answer is to "What are the chances of there being another season of 'Curb' next year?".

Nobody Knows Anything

Probably the best explanation into you know what. Go ahead and download both parts of this podcast. It's an interview with Alik Sakharov, Main Director of Photography for every episode of The Sopranos.

Let's just say this: Chase spent a lot of time watching Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey before he wrote the end of this thing. Oh, and here's something we've never heard before: "There's no fat, everything is in there for a reason." CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Itunes Playlist (If Itunes Carried Most of These Songs)

(Not Daniel "Deacon" Andreasen)
The sound you're hearing is bsmokedturkey typing me an email asking me to send him over the following mp3's. Now that the Sopranos are over (or at least the buzz following the final scene has died down, probably until the Emmys when they'll haphazardly imitate it a dozen times), I've been able to revisit downloads. A special tip of the engineers cap to 90.9 The Bridge, which is one of the best alternative music stations in the nation, for introducing a lot of these to me.

"I Understand (Just How You Feel)" - The Ink Spots

Song played at the end of the very underrated Steve Buscemi movie Trees Lounge. It turns out this is literally the only Ink Spots song you can't find on the usual download sites (although Elvis popped 20 percocets one day, ran some tape, and evidently sang a version of it from his bathtub, and that one IS available on Rhapsody). By the way, the more I think about it, Trees Lounge ended a lot like the final scene of The Sopranos (quick cut to black). The good news is you can get a used copy of the soundtrack at Amazon for under 4 bucks. It's even on CD. Who knew there was a soundtrack available for this movie? (Buscemi, who looks a lot like my Uncle Deacon now, really thought the end of the Sopranos was "Brilliant".)
Lindsey's been in the news a lot lately, because even though Stevie Nicks won't write a tell-all about what a tortured genius the guy was, it turns out he had ANOTHER ex girl-friend who was ready to make some money off of their relationship. It's quite a book, Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac by Carol Ann Harris. I guess I always knew Lindsey loved cocaine, but not THIS much. Great story about how he sat in Dick Clark's office at the American Music Awards and puked all over his floor and acted like nothing happened. Lindsey's got a lot more of Brian Wilson in him than people realize (although Mackenzie's brother Greg agrees with me in what an incredible guitarist he is). Turns out Lindsey would often play ALL the instruments on a lot of Fleetwood Mac stuff, become quite the physically abusive young man, and tease poor Stevie Nicks on stage in concerts following their breakup. The book got me interested in some of Lindsey's solo stuff, and he wound up doing 5 acoustic songs exclusively for Rhapsody. They're all good, but this is one of his new songs that I didn't get to hear on his recent tour. You're off the hook Bsmoked. Something you won't find in that book -- Lindsey was in Lincoln on that beautiful April day this past spring, but turns out that venue had horrible acoustics, and Lindsey packed up his shit and went home, claiming,
  • "The venue clearly stated to Lindsey’s tour manager that Lindsey must use the existing sound gear as is. Even when Lindsey’s tour manager explained to the venue that the sound system in the building was not what was represented to Lindsey’s audio technicians when doing their "advance" on the show; they still refused to allow the additional gear to enter the building. Lindsey was at the venue when all of this went down and ended up returning to his hotel.This is the first time this has happened and Lindsey has been on tour promoting his new album "Under The Skin" since October 2006 and this is the first and only date that had to be canceled. Lindsey is very upset that his fans in Lincoln, NE will not get to see his show."

"Are You Alright?" - Lucinda Williams

From her great album entitled West, and yes, it's available on Itunes and worth your 99 cents. I wouldn't even know about this song if it weren't for the "Kennedy & Heidi" episode of The Sopranos (the one where Tony plays with Chrissy's nose), where the first 12 seconds of the song were used. You never even had a chance to hear the lyrics. I don't think there are any new books about Lucinda Williams, but she's in concert in Kansas City on Saturday night.

"All Night" - Sam Phillips

Turns out this little minx was a Christian recording artist in the '80's, but when the alternative scene took off, she said, "Fuck it, plug me in, there's no money in Jesus anyway." God's loss is our gain, and it turns out she even up and married T-Bone Burnett. And yes, her stuff is on Itunes.

"Razor Love" - Neil Young

How did I miss this one? Available from his "Silver and Gold" album, which is on both Rhapsody and Itunes. We should really appreciate Neil more than we do, but truth be told, he is one crazy fucker.

"Summer '68" - Pink Floyd

From the "Atom Heart Mother" album which was released in 1970, before they took off. Probably right about when that Syd Barrett when nuts and Roger Waters decided it was his show. The big reason I bring this one up, other than that I've been listening to it, is that it was one of those $1.29 songs on Itunes, as in, the quality is better than if you bought the 99 cent version. So what Itunes has now made official is that all of those compressed mp3's you bought for a buck weren't worth a shit, the sound and quality suffered, but now for 30 cents extra you finally hear your downloads they way you could on a remastered CD. Our man Bob Lefsetz has been begging for this shit for two years now. Don't think he hasn't written like 6 articles a day on this either.

"Jump Into the Fire (Full 7 Minute Version)" - Harry Nilsson

Harry Nilsson was John Lennon's favorite drunk. In fact, Lennon's infamous "Lost Weekend" became like a lost year because he had so much fun drinking Black Russians and the like with Nilsson. If you've ever seen old footage of the two of them together, you'd swear John never had a better time in his life than when Harry was stumbling on his arm. I wanted this song because of the way Scorsese used it in Goodfellas. Just the perfect marriage of music and film, and now it's a great interstate song, one you need to listen to cranked up and driving 85 in a 75 MPH zone. Harry drank himself to death by the way, but this song especially lives in. Available everywhere, including from those rat fucks at Itunes.

"Hang Me Up To Dry" - Cold War Kids

I can't even tell you anything about the Cold War Kids. Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you about them. This song was one of those "Free Itunes Songs of the Week" way back when, and I never complain about the price on those things, so I gambled and won big. I do know they're a brand new band, but I guess Itunes free music selection aint like Dick Clark rating your song on the old American Bandstand now is it? Great track, I'm going to get into these fuckers more.

"Jeannie's Diary" - Eels

I just looked and this song has 28 plays in my itunes. Lefsetz told me about this one, and it's one catchy little ballad about a guy who says, "I don't have a chance at writing the book, I just want to be a page in Jeannie's Diary." Which reminds me, I'd like to be a chapter in the book of the woman who played Jeannie Sanders, Larry Sanders first wife. I had a thing for her, and she hasn't been in anything since.

"Oh, It Is Love" - Hellogoodbye

The sort of giddy little love song Paul McCartney used to always want to write when the Beatles first started. Play count on Itunes: Only 23, but moving up the charts. These guys are also proof that there are very few good band names left.

"Everybody Wants to Rule The World" - Don Henley

You read that headline correctly, and yes, it's THAT version of THAT song. Why on earth Henley's been covering this song in concert is beyond me. I mean, it's not like he doesn't have a big enough catalog of shit of his own to pick from. Henley's also covering Randy Newman on solo shows, but that's for another blog. You can't find this one anywhere, unless you request it from me and I'll send you the mp3 because this is what Cameron Crowe would call something that rhymes with the word Mootleg. The best part about it: It was obviously taped by someone in the audience, and as the song starts, you can hear a confused couple talking about Henley's song choice:

  • "I didn't know he did this?"
  • "Oh yeah. He did it with the Eagles."
  • "No he didn't."
  • (Pause) "Shit, you're right." (Long Pause) "This is fucking awesome."

Oh, and now the Eagles have their very own myspace page now. They're friends include quite a few extremely hot chicks, and a guy who looks like Jermaine Jackson circa 1984.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cavett on Nixon: "I'm glad the son of a bitch is still dead."

Frankly, I thought all Dick Cavett did anymore was some nifty voice-over work for ads for the University of Nebraska. You know, the ones that run during nationally televised Husker football games, where at the end somebody in the room inevitably pulls an Iron Eyes Cody and tries to act all sensitive with a crocodile tear down their face. Oh no, Dick Cavett still can give, as Tim Goodman points out. Tim must be having quite a summer. He did a live blog on a recent PBS Special called "Pioneers in Television", and it's actually quite an entertaining read. So in honor of bsmokedturkey's little Nixon post, we're sharing Tim's work on what Cavett still thinks about Tricky Dick. I'm not sure if I can speak for the rest of the boys in the band, but when I think "TV PIONEERS", the name Tony Orlando doesn't come up in my search engine until about the 212th page. Good to know the former lead singer of "Dawn" says Jackie Gleason was difficult.

I guess we're all a lot like Tim Goodman. There's just nothing worth watching short of a Barry Bonds at bat until Curb Your Enthusiasm comes back in September. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Down on Rodeo

The man on the left used to patrol the astro turf at then Royals Stadium as perhaps the fastest man in baseball history. After years in Exile on Main Street, the Pitch has finally caught up to him.

Click here for a great read and update on one of my all-time Top 5 favorite baseball players. Willie Wilson seems to be making a comeback of sorts.

And I don't know about anyone else, but it warms the cockles of my heart to learn how much the once fastest man in MLB enjoys smoking cigarettes. I've never understood why the Royals never retired uniform #6, although I'm sure it has something to do with a quite public drug bust in which Wilson says he was the victim. At any rate, good read, and there is a very nice ending to the story. Wilson was forced to sell off all of his assets, including his 1985 World Series ring for $16,250. The '85 Royals team bought the ring back for Willie from the buyer. Yet another reason why the 1985 KC Royals are one of my all-time favorite teams. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!