Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Worst President of My Lifetime

And that's saying something, considering that crook Nixon and that moron Reagan. I'm crabby as I woke up to NPR, with Bush whining about not getting his way on a number of issues. Something about not spending taxpayers money on killing life. Shoulda thought of that before he sent 1,600 Americans to their death in a useless war. Trying to be all folksy, his attempts at wit falling way way short.

Iraq in a blood-filled chaos. Social security "reform" going nowhere. Momentum in Congress stalled, fellow godboy Frist can't get shit done. The country in big-ass debt due to the GOP's borrow-and-spend policies. If Bush weren't an inadvertent Keynesian, the economy would totally be in the tank. Four months into his second term, and he's already a lame duck.

Leaderships skills? His party is in power and he sounds like a goddamned fucking pleading momma's boy. Worst president of my lifetime.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Ten Cool Images of Sin City

Finally saw Sin City at the Riverview last night. Fucking awesome and gorgeous. I can't stop thinking about it.











Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Minnesota - Tax Free By 2010!

We won't have a sales tax, we will have a consumption fee. If you don't want to pay the fee, don't buy things.

We won't have an income tax, we will have a revenue fee. If you don't want to pay the fee, don't earn any income.

We won't have a property tax, we will have a land ownership fee. If you don't want to pay the fee, don't buy property.

("Cuz they told me, when I was younger - 'boy, you’re gonna be president'")

Monday, May 23, 2005


For a few years a quarter century ago, this man was the coolest individual on the planet.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

"Those Near and Far Wars ...

I haven't seen Episode III yet. I think I finally figured out Episode I last weekend while watching it with my brother and constantly surfing the Net for info. Episode II was delivered from Netflix yesterday - I may watch it this weekend. (Then again, with Night Shift also in my hands, Star Wars might have to wait.)

In the meantime, I'll listen to Bill Murray sing his version of the "Star Wars Theme."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Ronald Reagan's Economics Represented Some of the Finer Thinking of the Eighteenth Century"

Did nothing trickle down to you in the eighties? Wondering why all those tax cuts aren't boosting the economy like they were supposed to?

Maybe then it's time to catch up with John Kenneth Galbraith. Me, I'm headed to the library tomorrow to check out one or two of his books.

Here's a great interview with Galbraith's biographer from MPR's mid-morning show last week. (Scroll down to May 10th.) I listened to it twice yesterday.

Galbraith on America's entry into South Vietnam.

William Greider on Galbraith.

All of the above is highly recommended.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Senator Dibble (DFL, District 60) Also Writes Back

Dear Bill,

Thank you for letting me know about your opposition to the latest proposal by Hennepin County to build a new stadium for the Twins.

I am anxious to learn more about the details so I can give it careful consideration. It is important to gauge this expenditure in light of public benefit, as we do for all public investments.

It is very interesting that the Governor and the Chamber of Commerce have no trouble with creating a new source of funding for this through the sales tax, while at the very same time they are vociferously fighting a similar proposal to create an ongoing, dedicated, reliable source of funding for transit - an investment we know has tremendous economic benefit. Meanwhile, education, healthcare, public safety, the environment, and housing all go lacking.

There may be an approach that maximizes the ability to raise public private resources by those who favor a stadium. Partial community ownership and some sources of public revenue (such as taxes on game and event tickets, event area parking, sports merchandise sales taxes, surcharge on player income taxes) are consistent with those principles.

Thanks again for getting in touch. Please continue to weigh in on this and other issues important to you.

Very truly yours,
Scott Dibble

Monday, May 16, 2005

Representative Hornstein Is My Guy

Last week I wrote my state representative and state senator to express my disapproval for the proposed increase in the Hennepin County sales tax that would help pay for a new Twins stadium. Representative Frank Hornstein (DFL, District 60B) replied to my email in under 14 hours:

Dear Bill:

Thanks for your letter. I strongly agree with you and plan to vote
against the stadium when the issue comes before the Local Government
Committee on Thursday or Friday.

I appreciated hearing from you, and please contact me if you have
further ideas, advice or concerns.

Frank Hornstein
State Representative

I see the Local Government Committee's meeting on this issue was postponed until today. Tonight I may have to take a break from my watching last week's episode of "The O.C." to see how the vote went.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Rocky Mountain Way

This is my first-ever blog post from across state lines. I'm in the metro Denver area visiting my brother and his family. He has Schlitz in the downstairs fridge and I'm mooching all the meals, so all is cool.

The highlight of my trip out here was at the Humphrey Terminal on Thursday afternoon. I was sitting next to an Uptown cutie (wearing a hat, chicks with hot hats on rule) who was drinking White Russians. I was enjoying a tall-boy glass of Summit. The cutie announced to the bartender that she wanted to do a shot then asked he: "Are you in?" I said sure, we ended up doing something called an Upside-Down Pineapple Cake. Then she hopped on a plane to Vegas. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Eleven Years of Sid's Predictions

Because, you know, a three-time repeater as division champion can't "stay competitive" without a new stadium. The below is from Paul Demko at The Blotter.

The last decade of stadium shenanigans has brought all kinds of amusing extortion schemes cooked up by the local sports moguls and their allies at the daily newspapers. At one point or another the Twins have supposedly been slated to be relocated to Salt Lake City, Portland, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, Charlotte, N.C., and Choctaw, Mississippi. But no one has been more shamelessly apocalyptic in his soothsaying than that foul old goat at the Star Tribune, Sid Hartman. Here's a selection of The Great Sidoni's grandest moments of ballpark prognostication:

March 4, 1994: "One more prediction: Once the Wolves follow the North Stars out of town, it will be a lot easier for Carl Pohlad to sell the Twins for a big, big price to another city."

July 30, 1995: "My prediction is that the Twins will be gone by the year 2000 unless some major adjustments are made in their lease at the Metrodome or a new stadium is built."

January 10, 1997: "My prediction is that the Twins will be in Charlotte, N.C., by the year 2000 if a new stadium is not built. The Pohlads have put a terrific proposal on the table. And the state must do something for the Vikings. There are plenty of cities willing to give the world to get a major league franchise of any kind without getting the things that Pohlad is willing to give."

April 6, 1997: "You can write this in stone: The Twins will not be here after 1998, when Pohlad can escape his Metrodome lease, if a new stadium isn't approved during this legislative session."

May 1, 1997: "My prediction: This franchise will wind up in Mexico City in 2000 if a new stadium isn't built."

August 29, 1999: "If the St. Paul sales-tax vote is not favorable Nov. 1, then the deal is off. And if Minneapolis can't find a way to build a stadium, you might say goodbye to the Twins after the 2000 season."

December 1, 2001: "Yes, Mr. Ventura, you and you alone can save the Twins. Furthermore, I predict you will do one great job when you appear in Washington, D.C., before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 6. And you will have a chance to let baseball Commissioner Bud Selig know you are going to help get a stadium built in Minnesota to keep major league baseball."

March 31, 2002: "If you want my opinion, there won't be a Twins stadium without Hennepin County included and that means little likelihood of a buyer for the team. The result: This will be the last season of Major League Baseball in Minnesota."

May 2, 2005: "Believe me, if this stadium plans falls through, the Twins are done fighting for a stadium and the owners will either cut the payroll to $25 million from the present $56 million or sell the team to somebody who might move it."

Monday, May 09, 2005

And It Was 1974 or 1975 That Took the Crown

This afternoon I finally put away the CDs which have been piling up in front of my stereo since ... oh probably since Christmas. I'm extremely lazy about putting CDs away. I play 'em then generally leave 'em in the six-disc changer then when I take 'em out I put 'em in their cases and set 'em on the floor in front of the stereo rather than filing 'em away. It (inadvertently) gives my living room that slacker-music-geek look, what with all the vinyl lined up inches away in front of the TV stand.

Anyway, the by-decade breakdown of the discs I've been listening to the past four-plus months:

1950s - seven discs
1960s - eight
1970s - twenty-eight
1980s - nine
1990s - twelve
2000s - fourteen

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Mark Your Calendars

I'm pencilled in to be the guest on Radio K's Sunday Special on Sunday, June 5th. The show airs from 2 until 4 p.m. The host, DJ Terri K, told me that: "It's free form radio so you are free to bring in anything you'd like to play for 2 hours."

And she later told me that vinyl is more than welcome. Sweet!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

"A contender if not now then tomorrow for the title Best Writer in America."

In an effort to stem the tide of bad luck and bad news that has plagued me the past several weeks (car stereo stolen, car failure, multiple bike flat tires, friend moving out of town, loss of accounting client, scramble to make April 15th estimated tax payment, cash-strapped, slow go on my kinda-secret big-ass writing project, etc. etc.), I realized that only a grand gesture could turn my frown upside down.

Hence the First Annual Lester Bangs Lyndale Bar Crawl. About 4:30 yesterday afternoon – Bangs (my favorite writer ever) died on April 30th, 1982 – I hopped on a bus destined for Lyndale and Franklin armed only with some cash and a copy of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung (my favorite book ever.) The plan was to work my southward (and homeward) with a stop for a beer and Bangs-reading at a half-dozen or so bars. The day was perfect for this – cloudy and cool with little chance of breaking out in a sweat or being tempted to sit outside. This was definitely a day to cozy up indoors with a cold one and a book.

The readings were (the order is approximate, due to a last-second jacket change I left my pen and notepad at home – probably for the best, this was to be a crawl of reading and not writing):

"The Guess Who: Live at the Paramount"
"Peter Laughner"
"Thinking the Unthinkable About John Lennon"
"My Night of Ecstasy with the J. Geils Band"
"Slade: Sladest"
"Review of Peter Guralnick's Lost Highway: Journeys & Arrivals of American Musicians"
"Black Oak Arkansas: Keep the Faith"
"Chicago at Carnegie Hall, Volumes I, II, III & IV"
"Richard Hell: Death Means Never Having to Say You're Incomplete"
"White Witch"
"from Notes on PIL's Metal Box"
"The Greatest Album Ever Made"
"New Year's Eve"
"Jethro Tull in Vietnam"

The bars were:

Mortimer's – I knew the crawl was going to be a good one when I ordered a Premium tap and the bartender said it was two-for-ones. "You're stuck here until six," he said. That was not to be the case.

Red Dragon – The bartender here was a tall tall tall blonde who was quite funny. I contemplated writing a poem on the spot titled "Ode to the Daytime Bartender." It was the last day of National Poetry Month, after all, and I had no poems to show for it this year.

I entered the Leaning Tower of Pizza and was kinda relieved to see all the seats at the bar was full. The last time I had been in this place was a few years ago where I sat in the restaurant for ten minutes, was never served or approached by the wait staff, and left. Why I re-entered this place, I don't know.

Bulldog – I had never been here but was greeted by the bartender like I was Norm Peterson. Damn, it's May now but I should still write that poem! I didn't get much reading here as the guy who was seated next to me was talkative. He was supposed to have his daughter this afternoon but had a couple of beers here and called his ex-wife and said he had a migraine. Then he commenced to drinking some more. He told me this before he tried to set me up with his ex. "She's beautiful, so beautiful," he said.

CC Club – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This used to be my #1 bar, but this was probably the third time I've been here in the past year. Got some solid reading done here.

I tried to enter the VFW – I had also never been here also – but ran into a door that said "Members Only." That was probably for the best, as I don't feel comfortable being in VFWs unless I'm with someone a generation or two ahead of me, and preferably someone who's been in the service.

Herkimer – Also got some great reading done here, despite the eye candy distractions.

Country Bar – Ah, the Country Bar. I looked forward to having a Grain Belt bottle (a beer which had escaped me during the crawl) and reading "Jethro Tull in Vietnam" on this, the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. After getting quizzed from the regulars about my book (they all professed to have first-hand knowledge of psychotic reactions.) I ordered a beer from my favorite gal and took a seat at a back table. Tuomala, I thought, this bar crawl has been awesome – it's time to celebrate. I asked the bartender if she wanted to do a shot with me. She immediately said "yes" and said she'd bring the shots out to me. She did so and gave me a discount. I tipped her well and buried myself in the Bangs:

In "Jethro Tull in Vietnam," Bangs discovers that Jethro Tull sounds exactly like some Vietnamese folk music he has heard. He fantasizes (but doesn't write it as such) about flying to Saigon to ask South Vietnam's President Thieu about this resemblance. Thieu listens to some of Tull's Thick as a Brick and then speaks:

"It has always amazed me how you Americans can feed yourself the worst kind of garbage and still survive, but now at last I think I understand. I don't like Jethro Tull either – I never have, not even when all my friends were bending my ear with This Was – but not, perhaps, for the same reasons which have driven you to such extremes.

"I don't like them because you are right. They do sound like Vietnamese folk music, and
I'm no folkie!"

Awesome stuff. I ordered one last beer and my gal, without prompting, brought out two more shots for us. Compliments of her. Sigh.

The walk home damn near was a crawl. I woke up this afternoon with a huge grin. God bless you Lester Bangs. The Lord be with you, daytime bartenders.