06.29.09 – Monday

Word: sociopath [soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-] n. a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience

Birthday: William Mayo (1861), Nelson Eddy (1901), Slim Pickens (1919), Robert Evans (1930), Harmon Killebrew (1936), Gary Busey (1944), Richard Lewis (1947), Colin Hay (1953), Maria Conchita Alonso (1957), Michael Nutter (1957), Jeff Burton (1967), Sam Farrar (1978)

Quotation: To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success – Henry John Heinz

Tune: “Orchestrated indie pop with brilliant melodies and a quiet sense of everything.” That’s what Hybrid Magazine has to say about Portland, Oregon band Derby. It’s a damn near dead-on description, too. Check out “If Ever There’s A Reason” from Posters Fade. Here’s a year-old review of the album by Conor McKay of NPR.

Gallimaufry: In what is now becoming an almost daily occurence, another celebrity has suddenly passed away. Professional pitchman Billy Mays was discovered dead in his bed by his wife yesterday morning. Saturday afternoon, Mays, a man who was famous for yelling at the top of his lungs about the effectiveness of such products as OxiClean and Orange Glo,  bumped his head as his plane touched down in Tampa International Airport in what was described as “a rough landing.” As of yet, no one’s claiming a connection between the landing and Mays’ untimely death. I don’t care what anyone else has to say about it. The fact that the US Men’s National Soccer Team made it to the finals of the FIFA Confederates Cup and actually came close to beating Brazil before eventually falling 3-2 late in the game is a good thing. I’m proud of them. And you should be too. For 2010’s FIFA World Cup South Africa, this year’s showing in the Confederates Cup will give US soccers fans (all 254 of them) something to look forward to. Spoon has got to be the hardest working band in the history of music. I know it and now so do you. Unlike Conor Oberst, who releases something new each week (some good, most bad), Spoon keeps pumping out quality track after quality track. Tomorrow, the Merge Records band is releasing a new EP called Got Nuffin. Go get it on Amazon.

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06.25.09 – Thursday

Word: daedal [deed-l] adj. 1. skillful; ingenious 2.cleverly intricate 3. diversified 

Birthday: Thomas Pennant (1726), George Orwell (1903), Sidney Lumet (1924), June Lockhart (1925), James Meredith (1933), Eddie Floyd (1935), Harold Melvin (1939), Carly Simon (1945), Jimmie Walker (1947), Tim Finn (1952), Anthony Bourdain (1956), Ricky Gervais (1961), George Michael (1963), Zim Zum (1969)

Quotation: I’ll play first, third, left. I’ll play anywhere – except Philadelphia.Richie Allen

Tune: A few years back, someone told me I needed to get #3, an album by some outfit named Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. I’m relatively certain they’re from Sweden. I thought the name of the band sounded kind of cool. I bought the album. And – predictably- I hated it. Except for one song – “Loop Duplicate My Heart.” It’s not really that good. It’s just sort of good when compared to the rest of the album. Not a ringing endorsement, I know.

Gallimaufry: OK. So, the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, is suspected of having an affair. Next, he goes AWOL and people start looking for him. Then, he apparently calls in and tells everyone he’s all right, just off on some goof romp up the Applachian Trail. We all shrug. That’s cool, I guess. Just a guy hiking with his thoughts. working some shit out. But he wasn’t hiking through the woods. Dude says he was “crying in Argentina,” visiting, for the last time he claims, the woman he’s been cheating on his wife with for the last year. The guy is the governor of a state and he up and leaves for five days. I mean, it’s only South Carolina, but still. So far, only one lawmaker is calling for his resignation. Only one.   Yesterday, in South Africa, the USA National Soccer Team advanced to the finals of the Confederations Cup by beating Spain, 2-0. For those of you who don’t follow soccer (presumably all of you), yesterdays victory for the USA was the equivalent of your high school basketball team beating the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. Spain hadn’t been beaten since November of 2006. USA will be making its first finals appearance ever. My prediction is, if they win, you’d still be hard-pressed to find anyone who cares. Unfortunately, this country doesn’t embrace soccer in the way the rest of the world does. My theory is that it takes too much thinking and there’s not enough commercials.  Leave the guy be. Since his drowning death in 1997, Jeff Buckley‘s music has become more iconic than had he survived that fateful nighttime swim in Memphis. Wait. I’m not putting down Buckley. I’m one of the few people who actually thought Grace was a classic album before 1997. I’m just of the opinion that we don’t have to take everything the guy ever recorded and turn it into something meaningful and profound. But it seems, for the time being, we’ll keep at it, as heard by the “remastered” version of Elton John’s “We All Fall In Love Sometimes,” featured in the (how-can-it-not-be?) weepy movie, My Sister’s Keeper.