Thursday, July 31, 2003

I've been meaning to mention this for a while now,,, "Blitzkreig Bop" is being used to sell ATT wireless... I'm not sure if this means our side won the cultural war or lost.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Well, the blog is now a year old,, I would have never thought it woudl have lasted this long, but am grateful to Brook, John etc that is has. It has been a pleasure staying in touch after all these years have passed.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Hello everyone. It's funny; I read the blog, and then I'm bombarded with all these thoughts about the past, etc. - this stream-of-consciousness stuff, and I think, my God, I need to post this. (happens usually at night). Then, the next morning, it's lost, and, besides, it seems pointless. Don't know where I'm headed with this.

My entrance into the Johnson City music scene came by way of being 8 years old, when I first entered University School. While I was a student there, I met Mark, Donnie, John Smith, Kurt, Scott Plez, and others who later became a part of that "other world". It's really weird, knowing people for that long. There is an odd sort of innocence that gets preserved, so that the lense through which I see those people, and the stuff they/we were a part of, is still attached to little things like Kung Fu lunch boxes and learning multiplication tables. And decisions/perceptions about/of relationships were/are made differently because of that, even now.

I recently interviewed a school nurse in Carter County who is Hispanic for my job, and she explained to me the visible change in kids when they move from an elementary school environment to junior high. At University School, since it was a grade 1-12 school, transformation of the psychological kind happened differently, with this obvious innocence holding together an entrance into adolescence. In some ways, I think it was painful for us, or for me anyhow.

Oh dear. I fear I sound like a Judy Bloome novel.

More later.

Thursday, July 24, 2003


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Picked up “Strays” yesterday. When I heard a few months ago that Bob Ezrin was producing, Im sure I just got all giddy. Ive always loved his huge, theatrical, pretentious -- often ridiculous approach to a record and couldnt wait to hear what he would do with the already larger than life and cosmically goofy Jane’s Addiction. I was equally apprehensive -- sometimes the Bob Ezrin touch can absolutely ruin what couldve been a good product, ie The Jayhawk’s 2000 release “Smile.” Sometimes it just doesnt work (and whoever suggested THAT collaboration shouldve been publicly flogged). Back on task: I immediately popped “Strays” into the CD player in the car for the drive home. MY GOD! “Here we go!” Chills ran down my spine, I was smiling and laughing the entire drive home -- it IS HUGE, theatrical, pretentious and yes, often ridiculous. And it fucking rocks. The record is joyous -- and as familiar as an old friend. This band is accutely aware of their iconic public stature -- playfully tossing around the alt/rock cliches they invented, referring to tunes past -- but never sounding dated or trite. And the RIFFS!!!! The Farrell/Navarro chemistry is as electric as it was thirteen years ago -- and in my opinion firmly cements their place in rock history among the great singer/guitarist pairings: Plant/Page, Scott/Young, Johannsen/Thunders, Mercury/May, Tyler/Perry, etc. Ive got my favorites: “True Nature” “Price I Pay” “Suffer Some” “Hypersonic” -- but there is really no weak tune on the disc. When the last song ended I felt kind of, I dont know... sad that is was over, I didnt want the experience of the first listen to end. I wanted more tunes. Do you know how long its been since Ive been able to say that about ANY record?

Also getting play in the car this week: Grand Funk’s 1969 release “Grand Funk Railroad” -- worth purchasing just to hear Mel’s amazing bass tone. If all you are familiar with from the Grank Funk catalog are tunes like “American Band” or “Locomotion” -- you’ve got a big surprise awaiting you. This is pure, raw, sloppy, dirty, blues drivin kick-ass rock and roll.

"Fuzzy Math" That's all I have to say!

Sunday, July 20, 2003

It's a darn good thing they impeached Clinton for lying about getting a blow job,,, if they had not stopped him, next thing ya know, he would have lied about Al Queda and Iraq being connected, Iraqi weapons programs, Iraqi's trying to get uranium from Niger, or even that Iraq was not letting weapons inspectors into thier country. Who knows where this would have all led if Clinton had been allowed to lie that way! Remember kids, honesty is the best policy! If they let us put the 10 commandments on every public facade in America, you would know what the Bible says about bearing false witness against your neighbor.......

Thursday, July 17, 2003

no comment...

What does this mean for garage bands everywhere?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Well, crap, it didn't publish the link.What does one make of that? They're trying to stop us FROM BEING FREE!!!!!! Just do it the old fashioned way, copy and paste in your browsers.

Howdy y'all...I'm a little late getting this posted; I think it's already got to the call-yer-senators stage, but travel to the website. They've got a good thing goin' with this grassroots electronic democracy stuff...

The President took the nation to war based on his assertion that Iraq posed an imminent threat to our country. Now the evidence that backed that assertion is falling apart.

I've joined over 330,000 other people in calling on Congress to investigate at 247 other people from our own Congressional district have already signed, but we're shooting for 350. Please take a moment to help us get there by signing on at:


If the Bush administration distorted intelligence or knowingly used false data to support the call to war, it would be an unprecedented deception. Even if weapons are now found, it'll be difficult to justify pre-war language that indicated that the exact location of the weapons was known and that they were ready to deploy at a moment's notice. With a crisis of credibility brewing abroad and the integrity of our President and our foreign policy on the line, we need answers now.

Please ask your Representative to pledge his or her support for an open investigation at:

A President may make no more important decision than whether or not to take a country to war. If Bush and his officials deceived the American public to create support for the Iraq war, they need to be held accountable.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Is it just me, or do others think that Dick Chenny stole his name from a drag queen???

Now to Brook's real point (as I see it)...I must say, with a little further reading of the Michael Wolf article, that the only part that seems grievous is not the wares Mr. Z has in his coat, but the price he is charging us for them. The niche-market strategy the American version of The Guardian plans to pursue is small readership, big subscription price. The problem with this is both pyschological and practical. It limits the availability of good-quality thinking to those who can afford to pay for it, implying that a mind is a luxury to have, and creates further antipathy between "elite liberals" and a mass that's already too ready to see themselves as anti-intellectual even without snobbery along class lines. If The Guardian's great freedom comes from its trust fund, which makes it relatively immune to advertising pressures, why is it necessary to stick it to its readers with the price tag? Why assume from the get-go that small price, large readership won't work just as well for The Guardian as for the tabloids, that poor people can't also be smart? Or at least that there aren't enough poor people who are smart enough to make such a venture competitive on the tabloid level? That strategy would disseminate the message much more widely and give a greater chance for real social and political change rather than just breeding more conflict and hostility.

This is off the point of Brook's post a bit, but I can't help appreciating a certain amount of symmetry in the idea that since we got dumbed down by an Aussie, maybe we SHOULD be smartened up by a Brit (although ideally we ought to smarten up ourselves, which would help enormously in resisting dumbing down, wherever it comes from.) I just pulled these things randomly off the net, and rather liked the way they went together.

“I think a newspaper should be provocative, stir ’em up, but you can’t do that on television. It’s just not on.” ATTRIBUTION: Rupert Murdock, declaring that he did not plan any television tabloids, Business Week 20 May 85 (hmmmmmmm, the year he became a US citizen)

And these thoughts from Carl Bernstein, doing a keynote speaker gig at the 50th anniversary of Boston University's College of Communication (9/21/97)

Now, Bernstein argues, journalism has little to do with reality, truth or context. His accusation: journalists are out of touch, disfigured by gossip, celebrity worship, sensationalism and denial of our society about the real conditions.

"We're turning into a sewer," he said. "Our society is being handed over to the triumph of idiot culture," said Bernstein. "Make no mistake about who the most influential figure in journalism of the past quarter century's not Ted Turner, the team from CBS or 60 Minutes, it's Rupert Murdock." It's time that the news media recognize that Rupert Murdock and "his sleazy standards at the low-end of his empire are increasingly affecting the standards of the high-end of our business, and are an even greater threat to the truth than the lying and the secrecy of the succession of American presidents and their governments," Bernstein charged. Bernstein questioned the leadership of the press saying, "The media are all squandering their power and abdicating their responsibility," while responsible journalists have welcomed the standards of the Murdock journalists instead of drawing the line.

And consider this:

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

On August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station's pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was "a false, distorted, or slanted" story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows. The court did not dispute the heart of Akre's claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers.

Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a "policy," not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation.
Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was "totally vindicated" by the verdict.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hey! I note that our little blog is about to have a birthday! woohoo! Do we get to throw a party,,, or a Hindu Fucking Rib Roast?? or something like that???

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Every now and then the zeitgeist opens it's coat to show you the goods. When you see the wares Mr. Z is plying you say, "of course! I knew you would eventually have some of that!"

Ostensibly this is a long article about niche publishing -- but you know when you read it, it's you more than that. This is a culture clash. The brains against the brauns. It's the revenge of the nerds. And the most beautiful thing is that it is about foreigners using the most American of marketing axioms (charge more b/c the product is more "exclusive" -- it isn't for "everyone" -- HA -- which means EVERYONE who is anyone, will HAVE to have it on their coffee table!) as the weapon of choice to achieve success in the American market. It works for restaurants, it will work in publishing.




By Michael Wolff (New York,

It was a daylong conference about the media’s role in the Iraq war, sponsored by the Guardian newspaper and held in its archive center—a newly refurbished building with café—across the street from the Guardian’s main building on Farringdon Road in London.

Everything about the conference seemed foreign—not just the self-critical nature of the conversation, but the bad air-conditioning and stifling temperature of the room. I tried to imagine such an event in New York or Washington—picking at the fresh scab of how we had covered the war—and what news organization would sponsor it. Of course, the real subject here—which so much of the U.S. media had closed ranks around—was the U.S. itself. That most massive of Bigfoots. Indeed, more and more, the foreign media had a distinct journalistic advantage over the U.S. media: Foreigners could go after the central story and openly dispute the Bush-administration message, whereas U.S. journalists were tied to the party line by a complicated emotional, social, political, and corporate etiquette.

In this respect—as a robust counterpoint to the American media—the Guardian (to which I sometimes contribute) had had a very good war. It became an almost-fashionable read on select U.S. campuses and in certain American liberal circles. Traffic on its Website, which has had a steadily growing American audience, climbed dramatically during the war. The electronic Guardian was the alternative press—if you were looking for one.

Still, when, during a coffee break, Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor, said to me, in a most offhanded way, “We’re coming to America,” I assumed he was talking about a personal visit.

“Well, let’s definitely get together,” I politely said.

“No,” he said. “We’re bringing the Guardian to America. We’re going to publish an American version.”

It struck me first that—even given the Guardian’s campus chic-ness—the U.S. has never been less receptive to the European point of view than it is now. By any measure, to be successful in the U.S. news business is to be staunch, patriotic, defensive. It’s Fox or bust. And it struck me even more forcefully that beyond the difficulties of liberalness, the prospects for literate media—the Guardian being a writer’s paper—were, as everybody knew, nil.

Then, during the next break in the conference, Rusbridger took me across the street to his office and showed me the prototype for the new American Guardian. Its tentative form is as a weekly magazine, quite unlike any other weekly magazine that has been started in the U.S. in the past generation. Not only is it about politics (Rusbridger is looking to launch in the winter to cover the presidential-primary season), but the magazine—meant to be 60 percent derived from the Guardian itself, with the rest to come from American contributors—has a great deal of text unbroken by design elements. This is almost an extreme notion. Quite the antithesis of what virtually every publishing professional would tell you is the key to popular and profitable publishing—having less to read, not more. Even with the Guardian’s signature sans-serif face, it looks like an old-fashioned magazine. Polemical. Written. Excessive. Contentious. Even long-winded.

This was either radically wrongheaded, or so forcefully and stylishly counterintuitive—and unexpected—that I found myself thinking, light-headedly, that it might define a turnaround in American publishing.

Bear with me. There is something here.

First, it’s important to understand the anomalous nature of the Guardian itself.

There may not be anything else quite like it in commercial publishing anywhere. The Guardian is the fruit of a legal trust whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of the Guardian. In other words, the trust—the Scott Trust, created in 1936 by the Manchester family that controlled the paper—eliminates the exact thing that has most bedeviled media companies: the demands of impatient shareholders and the ambitions of would-be mogul CEOs.

The Guardian, because of this flukish independence, occupies for well-bred left-wing Brits something like the position that the New York Times once held for Upper West Side liberals (or that Fox now holds for red-state anti-liberals): You cannot be who you are without it.

Young people even read it.

What’s more, under Rusbridger, it has become, along with the Daily Mail (with its lock on middle England) and the BBC’s morning news show, The Today Programme, among the most influential media voices in the UK.

The sudden turn in popular opinion against Tony Blair for the Iraq war and the anger at his government’s WMD misrepresentations—a development that George Bush has yet to face—have been led by the Guardian.

It is also the paper everybody wants to work for.

Rusbridger is a large, rumpled, Harry Potter–esque 49-year-old. He’s a Cambridge-educated, well-married, Establishment figure running an anti-Establishment newspaper. He’s dry, slightly mocking (he came to prominence in his early thirties writing a daily-diary column that, in classic English diary form, skewered the rich and pompous), and full of long silences. What’s more, despite the long pages of type, he’s a packaging genius.

“G2,” which he created when he was the Guardian’s features editor (Peter Preston, a Fleet Street eminence, was then the paper’s editor-in-chief), is a daily inside-the-paper tabloid section. But instead of this representing the tabloidizing of the Guardian, Rusbridger gentrified the tabloid. While the American evolutionary step has been to forsake hard news for soft—for instance, the Times’s and the Journal’s ever-expanding leisure, consumer, and service sections—the Guardian in “G2” has morphed headline news into a daily bath of stylish opinion, context, and narrative. It’s high-concept news. It’s story-behind-the-story news—which is, of course, the real story. It is not unlike the kind of magazine journalism that flourished in the U.S. a generation ago—before cableization and tabloidization and consolidation.

This is the marketing point: Unlike American packaging genius, which is about packaging down (resulting in the deterioration of taste as well as attention spans), Rusbridger packages up.

While I was standing in Rusbridger’s office and leafing through the prototype, thinking that this was novel and exotic—quixotic, even—and quite a profound misunderstanding of the American market, it suddenly occurred to me that I was overlooking the obvious. The Brit niche.

Against the background of the rise of Fox, the deification of tabloid queen Bonnie Fuller, and of the general decline of quality U.S. publishing, there’s been something of an exceptional, and profitable, highbrow British invasion. Arguably the two most successful print publications to be introduced during the past decade in the U.S. market are The Economist and the Financial Times. (The third is Maxim, also English in lineage, and a different packaging story.)

Both The Economist and the FT succeeded by pursuing the opposite strategy of almost every other U.S. publication: offering too much, rather than too little, information—and charging plenty for it.

the rest of the article is here....

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

As far as I'm concerned, with the Down Home, Johnson City has a way better music scene than Nashville. It's just more fun to go out there than it is here and finding a parking spot isn't a problem.

That said, ya'll should know that tomorrow, X (the whole original band) is playing and outdoor show (called the Uptown Mix) here in Nashville, with Jason and the Scorchers and The Fags. Price of admission? $5 bucks! Is that not just nuts? $5 bucks!

I'm just so excited I had to tell somebody... and isn't The Fags like the greatest name for a band? "Ladies and Gentleman... put your hands together... for THE FAGS! God, that cracks me up.

Another good Uptown Mix will be The Flaming Lips with The Eels, August 6.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Just wondering... did anyone go to the 20th Anniversary of the Italian Pizza Pub?

Friday, July 04, 2003

My wish for the year.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson should license ALL the old blonde/brunette buddy car drivin' TV shows for movie remakes. They've already got Starsky and Hutch. That leaves the Dukes of Hazard and Simon and Simon.

Still looking for those pesky weapons of mass destruction?
Try Google!

type "weapons of mass destruction" in the search field,
and then hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Are fans of Donna Summer called "Summerians"??? Just wondering.....

well GODDAMN Brook! We are not only at war with Iraq, but we are involved in an even more desperate war for the spiritual survival of our nation! You can't expect our leaders (such as esteemed hypocratian Senator Bill Frist) to worry about competent and affordable health care when there are QUEERS out there wanting to get married!!!!

jeeezzzz, Where's your patriotism?

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Hello blog... been a long time, but i have a medical excuse. i herniated 2 disks in my back, and then got a blood clot, and also had some kind of weird puking fever. i've been sick for a month. hospitalized twice. i could go on and on about the shitty state of healthcare, but i think i'm just going to say this: why can't you shop for a physician the way you would shop for any other service? a lawyer or a landscape designer.

i've gone to the same doc for 7 years. she was the newest kid on the block when i got my healthcare plan, ergo she was the next available doc, ergo that's who i was told to go by my insurance plan. i didn't know anything about her -- what she studied in school or even WHERE she went to school. it wasn't like i could check her out and then go check out another doc. it was like, be damn glad you have insurance and shut the hell up.

why is this? you'd think that people would really care about knowing everything they can about their healthcare providers. but just try to find anything out. i know way more about a car before i buy it... or about computer or audio equipment. you at least get the brochure or surf the website... look at the specs... compare features. jeez -- with doctors, people you rely on to keep you alive -- you are expected to just take the next one available. that's if you're lucky enough to have insurance.

you might be wondering what my doc did to piss me off so bad. it's not any one thing. it's a general state of bullshit. for instance, since this latest illness happened, she hasn't once conferred with me about what is wrong. she never said "this is what is wrong and this is what we are going to do." i've had to sleuth out my diagnosis -- and naturally i only have the most shallow (read: frightening) understanding of what it is. so... that pisses me off. every direct question i asked was met with a brush off.

here's another... how would you feel if you ask you doctor for help with pain management and they hand you a bag of samples and say, "i'm not sure what this is, but go ahead and take it and see what happens."

SEE WHAT HAPPENS! what the hell. let's not do that at all. lets find out what is in this medicine. lets see if it might interact with shit i'm already taking. i swear she gives out stuff from the sample cabinet b/c she's too busy to think about prescribing anything. LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS! is this what healthcare has come to? are these people all on drugs?