Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Some many little bands out there

About 1/10,000th of the bands out there have the perfect magical mix of what I call the Passion/Talent/Skill (PTS) index. Let me explain. Take any band. What percentage would you give that band on passion? On talent, or skill? The perfect mix of these three will help you explain why they do or do not suck.

But before I begin, let's define our terms.

Passion: This one is obvious. It's not something that can be defined. It's like pornography: you know it when you see it.

Talent: This I define as something innate that defies explanation, that gives you that ability to put together combinations of melodies or chords in order to create something that inspires awe in observers. Please note that this is VERY different from skill.

Skill: This comes from hours and hours of practice. Hours of it. Years and years of playing chords and scales over and over and being able to do anything that anyone could do with a particular instrument. Again, nothing to do with talent.

To explain, I'll go through several bands, bands that Suck Nuts (SN), and bands that Everyone Loves (EL). Remember, my index is Passion/Talent/Skill (PTS).

Some great bands only need a high score on one part of the index. Some need two. Weakness in all three is a sure loser. Sometimes, strength in one part might not guarantee that you'll be good.

Not sure if you're following my line of reasoning but I know what mean.

DC Blogs: WTF??

I'm sorry, but this city is just not interesting enough to have this many blogs about it. What is going on here?

My theory: these are all Capitol Hill interns who want to be the next Jessica Cutler.

Have you been asking yourself, "What's Kirk Cameron up to lately?"

Kirk, I'd like you to meet Chirstopher. Christopher, Kirk.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

MBV: Loveless

It's a cliche to say that My Bloody Valentine's album Loveless is the best album of the 1990s, but sometimes---rarely---cliches are true.

I've listened to Loveless no fewer than one million times and I'm not sick of it yet. Not at all.

Each time I listen I feel like I've just read some piece of fine, difficult-to-read literature (which I seldom do). It doesn't sound like normal music, just all texture and breathy female vocals--- mesmerizing.

It makes me feel like no other music does. Ever since the first time I heard it in 1994. Don't believe me? Check this out. Or this. Or this, or this.

Shark attack craze as prelude to terror.

Remember in August of 2001 there was so little real news that shark attacks were making the papers like every day? Then, wham!, September 11th.

I'm starting to get a little worried.

Monday, June 27, 2005

My Old Friend, Nate

Someone more articulate than me wrote about my friend Nate's death. He expresses exactly how I feel.

I am just so distraught and in absolute anguish over this news. I'm not even sure why I'm writing as I have nothing worthwhile to say except to express how upset I am. Last night I lay awake for I don't know how long re-experiencing the moment when I heard the news and feeling like I'd just been punched in the stomach.

Of course this is all nothing compared to what Nate's family must be going through. I know I'm supposed to offer up bromides about how we should cherish the time we had with Nate rather than focus on what we've lost, but that's not the way it feels. It feels like there's been some colossal mistake in the proper functioning of the universe but no one caught it in time and now it's too late.

I moved away from DC in 2003 and beyond the wonderful memories I have of him, I was always happy that Nate and Daphne had met and gotten married, and that he had someone to share his passions, whether his unique taste in music, dedication to social justice, delicate touch with homemade pizza or any of the many other facets that made Nate such an intriguing and accepting person.

He emailed me a month ago full of bravado about beating the cancer, and then taking the fight to George Bush and the Indonesian war criminals. I had no doubt that he would succeed, against the illness at least. Now I see that the cancer was a more formidable opponent than he realized, and the rest of us are left to wonder how this could be.

I'm going to be very sad about this for a long while, and lament how much we've lost, not only in Nate's actual absence, but in my case even though we weren't in regular contact, the comfort of knowing that he was in the world, being himself and living the life I felt fortunate to have participated in. I don't know if that makes any sense the way I've written it, but I know what I mean.

Someday I may be able to reflect on the positives and appreciate the time I had with Nate without those feelings being swallowed up by anger and sorrow. But not yet. It just hurts too much.

Nate, you were a good person and we need more people like you, not fewer. I miss you and now I think I'm going to cry.


Nate Osborn, 1998

U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative

Very thorough article about how the US is viewed abroad.

The problem with this chart is that it's all so conflicting as to render it meaningless. How can we get #1 for honesty and #2 for immorality?

Christ. The "Too Busy" post. Christ.

People, people ...

I wasn't directing that post at anyone in particular. In fact, I was trying to underscore something about myself: I need constant friend-reaction to everything I do, or I feel totally bored and start drinking more than I should.

That's what I was saying. I'm not subtly crticisizing my buds like this. Believe. Lotsa love. Lotsa love.

On another note, I just bought a t-shirt from a bar called Bar Pilar tonight. Normally, I wouldn't have done something so cheesy, but come on ... It's a bar named after Hemingway's boat and it's only been around for like three weeks. As of 6/27/05 a google search yields nothing!

Hopefully it'll go out of business soon and I'll be able to say I'm the only one who has a t-shirt this cool.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I gave the bad bartender this receipt tonight. What does a bartender or
waiter think when they get such an insulting scrap of paper? "Gosh, I should
do a better job. Gosh."

Probably not, but it felt so good to give such an insult for such insulting service.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Two PETA employees have been charged with animal cruelty.

Holy crap, have PETA gone entirely insane?

Two North Carolina counties have stopped turning over shelter animals to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Officials said they were surprised to learn the group euthanized cats and dogs instead of trying to find them homes. Documents show PETA euthanized about 6,100 domestic animals from 2001-2003. Two PETA employees have been charged with animal cruelty for dumping dead animals they collected in eastern North Carolina into a shopping center's garbage bins.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Celebrate the birth of your country by blowing up a small part of it.

Just got a flier from my fireworks place in West Virginia. Somehow they figured out a loophole in the law where they can sell powerful explosives only to out-of-state residents.

Squatter City

This blog is one of the most interesting I've seen.

Description: Squattercity is about squatters and squatter cities around the world. The blogger, Robert Neuwirth, is a writer who spent two years living in squatter communities on four continents and has published a new book called Shadow Cities in an attempt to humanize these maligned settlements.


About seven weeks ago my friend Nate Osborn had back problems so he went into the doctor to get it checked out. The doctors found a cancerous tumor lodged on his spine so they immediately started chemotherapy but the situation was very grim and they soon gave him a severe prognosis.

His wife moved him down to Tijuana where they could try some experimental treatment but he wasn't in good enough health to go through with it. Last Thursday, Nate died. He was 43.

I was lucky enough to be able to speak with him less than 48 hours before he died. And, wow, how strange. I called down to the Tijuana hospital and spoke with his wife for a few minutes about his condition. She said Nate had an oxygen mask on and couldn't respond to me but his hearing was fine. So she held the phone up to his ear while I scrambled for the right words, knowing that they would be my last to him. I told him I was sure I'd see him back home riding his bike downtown like he always did. That was the last I spoke with him.

I met Nate about six years ago through activism, and soon after, he joined a soccer team I'd started. He gained the nickname "The Blizzard of Os" because of his energy. He was a longtime bike currier and I'd never have expected him to die so soon. Nate was one of the kindest, most sincere people I've known. No one disliked him.

Apparently in his last few hours he was talking about traveling. That's what I want to be talking about in my final days alive.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Beach

Went to the beach after the shark tournament.

Horseshoe crab, dead.

I hate 'em, too, but you gotta admit. It looks pretty freakin' cool right here.

This is the empty egg case of a skate.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Ocean City Shark Tournament 2005!!

Just got back from the OC shark tournament so I thought I'd include some pictures.

This 215 pound Mako shark was caught by a group from Lancaster, PA and they had two Amish guys hauling this shark around for them. We felt bad because they hadn't even registered for the tournament. If they had, they would've won the $27,825 cash prize (the winning Mako was only 195 pounds).

Pennsylvania Amish, hauling shark in a wheel barrow.

Lancaster-caught Mako shark.

Yours truly with head of 215 pound Mako shark.

Inside the Mako.

The head of the Mako shark next to my wife's leg.

Can you believe I married a woman this good?

A 328 pound Thresher shark. You can't see its tail but it's about 7 feet long (see two pictures down). This shark won in the Open Division. Cash winnings of $1,500.

This woman was the resident butcher. Every time a shark would come in and be weighed, she'd immediately make quick work of it, cutting it into hundreds of pounds of shark steaks within minutes. This is the head and body of the thresher.

This is the tail of that 328 pound Thresher shark. The guy holding it is the announcer for the tournament and he's explaining to the children (me included) all about the shark.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Too busy"

I have never---wait, let me think...---no, never told someone "I've been too busy to ..."

I translate the "Sorry, I've been too busy" excuse one of two ways: 1) My life is so stressful and I'm involved in things that don't matter, and they keep me occupied to the point where I have unintentionally avoided you; or 2) You're really not important enough to be fit into my schedule, and what's more, I'd like to phase you out of that group of people I call "close friends".

As with most of the things I post on this blog, I could be 100% off base. Maybe I'm just so gregarious that I need constant human attention and I'm bitter.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A stolen safe, a loaded handgun and an inflatable toy boa constrictor.

I always had a big excitement while beach-combing but never came across a gold mine like this.

What conclusions can you draw from the items found? Were the three things connected in some way? My guess is this: the crook wasn't satisfied with having a gun to protect his safe on the boat ride across the Chesapeake so what did he purchase for that added protection?: an inflatable boa constrictor.

"That'll do it. No one'll fuck with me now. Yea."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pickled Onions: Part Deux

A whole new world has been opened up to me: the world of pickled onion connoisseurs.

I just ordered a 16 ounce jar of McSweet Pickled Onions. The reviews were just too good to ignore. If there are that many people who have this much to say about something as small as a pickled cocktail onion, then I am obliged to pay $8.95 (plus shipping and handling) to sample them.

In several of the reviews on the McSweet website people are talking about ordering a case of these onions. A case! Can you imagine life being so good that you are compelled to order twelve 16 ounce jars of pickled cocktail onions for $48.00?? And then you run out and have to buy another case??

Wow. I've stepped into something very good, people.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pickled Onions

Just discovered pickled cocktail onions. Happened completely by accident, too. I ran out of olives for martinis so was forced to make a Gibson.

And, wow. Impressive.

Once you go pickled onion, you never go back to pickled olive. Can't believe I've lived for 31 years without knowing the pure pleasure of this small, tangy white orb.

You learn something every day.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fasting has no health benefit

Lately, I've been on an off-again-on-again rant against fasting. When you hear proponents of it, they use nice words like "cleansing", "inner calm", "getting rid of toxins", etc. Without having looked into it, I always thought it was complete bullshit. The best way to purify your body is to eat right and drink lots of liquid, not to deprive your body.

How did this fasting bull-crap take hold of the culture? Must have something to do with pseudo-science, alternative medicine and hippies.


"Fasting has no health benefit ... There is no cleansing of the body that occurs, only depletion."

Friday, June 10, 2005

This month's best "Don't" from Vice Magazine

There’s “Girls Gone Wild” and then there’s “Girls Doing What Guys Would Do if They Could Be Girls for an Hour Gone Wild.” It’s like, “Hey you guys check out my new tits ha ha ha” and “Hey look at me. I’m eating out Todd and he’s a chick. Aaah ha ha.” When they get back to normal the “girl” in the background is going to be really uncomfortable with how much fun “she” had.

This month's "Do's and Don'ts" wasn't very good so it was a struggle to even choose one "Best" from the bunch.

If anyone disagrees, let me know. No one? Ok, cool.

Summer is here

I love this humid, hot-swamp weather so much. It's about time, too.

My air conditioning finally works but I haven't turned it on cuz I'm so glad to feel hot and sticky. My wife and I just leave it off so we can celebrate the fact that summer's here.

And I feel like drinking bourbon again.

Thank god.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Don't fuck with the soft shells

Just returned from my "Celebration of Life Weekend" which turned out to be more of a "Celebration of Rain and Wind Weekend". No, seriously, I had a freaking blast. And by "blast" I mean I slept no more than three hours at a time and drank alcohol often starting at 9:00AM.

We stopped for a day at Hoopers Island (see previous post). There was a local old man tending his soft shelled crabs. He had five large, flat tanks with plastic pipes running over them dispensing water. We walked over to him with our fleece jackets and yellow plastic rain coats looking very yuppie. He was friendly and showed us how he takes care of his crabs.

A couple of hours later my friend Chris walks over wearing a hooded sweatshirt and scraggly beard. As the crab-tender spots Chris, he casually opens his pick-up truck door and pulls out a shotgun. He rests it against a shack nearby and stands there looking at him as Chris picks up his pace and moves.

In rural Maryland, don't even think about fucking with the soft-shelled crabs. You do, you'll have buckshot up yer ass, boy.

That is, unless you look like a friendly yuppie. I never knew yuppies and old rednecks would make such good bed fellows.

Who knew?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hoopers Island

Just got back from my four-day sailing trip. Along the way we stopped at Hoopers Island. There was recently an article in the Washington Post about it.

It's just a little spit of land that was completely submerged during Hurricane Isabel. Only about 80 people live there.

More later ...

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