September 30, 2005

In case you wish that the guys next to you hadn't felt like showing up

Rose and I went to see the Posies last night. Opening bands were nothing special -- the Deathray Davies (great name) and Oranger -- both of them competent, pleasant enough, and having a decent ability to write a hook, but that was about it. But the Posies put on an excellent show, jumping off the stage in mid-set to play particularly loud versions of two songs ("Grant Hart" and "Dream All Day") in the audience. Ken Stringfellow in particular brought the rock-star attitude, eventually going so far as to remove his shirt during "I Finally Found a Jungle I Like!!!" (after inviting twenty or so people to dance onstage -- including the guy who I will now forever think of as "the dork who kept making a big show about waving a towel around for some reason" -- and talking about how he had an erection, although he used the word "boner"). Before he took off the shirt, his matching shirt and pants and general ranginess gave him a very Todd-Rundgren-in-jump-suit look.

Anyway, clearly the man likes to rock. I would not have expected quite so much throwing-of-the-self-around-the-stage from him, especially since his recent solo material has been so mellow and orchestrated (and, incidentally, I notice that his excellent solo album, "Touched", is available used at Amazon for, like, three bucks).

The concert was slightly marred by the stoned guys in their 50s who squeezed in right next to our seats upstairs just as the Posies were starting their set, getting way too close to Rose's personal space (one of them was poking her in the butt with his knee for a while), talking loudly through songs right next to Rose's ear (until Rose told them to please for God's sake shush and could you stop elbowing me EVERY TIME you take a drink of water?), and spending an ungodly amount of time arranging and rearranging the pile of bags and jackets and I don't know what that they had piled on the table we were sitting at (and putting on jackets and taking off jackets and Jesus Christ, could you people STOP??). And thus our hit/miss ratio of attending concerts that do not involve fellow audience members behaving badly right next to us goes down once again.

Posted by Francis at 08:41 AM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2005

My baby, she wrote me a letter (and it had a lot of internal rhymes for some reason)

Despite my unfortunate combination of being both lazy and overworked, I do manage to work on my own projects every now and then. This weekend I finished recording a new song, and it has an odd genesis, so let me backtrack to a few months ago, when I bought the Kirsty MacColl 3-CD set, "From Croydon to Cuba". (And see how I'm not linking to Amazon this time? That's because Amazon's price for it is crap.)

The set is one of those collections that irks me slightly even though I could not possibly live without it. I need to own it because it is packed with rarities that aren't available anywhere else, but it annoys me because it is also filled with album tracks that are taking up space which could be filled with more rare tracks.

One of the rarities is entitled "Dear John", and it's the last song on the second disc. As with all the rarities, I was looking forward to hearing it -- but every time I listened to the disc, I would simultaneously be doing something else (working at the computer, reading), and by the time the CD ended, I would realize that I hadn't really been paying any attention to the last five or six songs at least. And our crappy CD player can be fussy about skipping tracks, so I wouldn't bother trying to replay the CD and skip to the last track.

After this happened more than once, I thought, well, maybe I should just write what I think a Kirsty MacColl song called "Dear John" would sound like. So I did. It is, of course, nothing at all like hers (which is slow, and sad, and which she considered too personal to put on the album she was working on; she ended up giving it to Eddi Reader to record), but I'm still very happy with how it came out. I was going to have Rose do the vocals, but I decided I liked having it sung in a guy's voice, because that makes the song feel like it's simultaneously giving the point of view of the woman doing the dumping and the point of view of the guy being dumped. So, here you go: "Dear John".

Posted by Francis at 01:32 AM | Comments (4)

September 28, 2005

The waiting is the hardest part

A while ago, Rose pointed out that our music collection could perhaps stand to have more Bruce Springsteen CDs. (I've got a paltry three -- his first two, and "The Rising" -- as well as the tribute album of different people covering the entire "Nebraska" album, which doesn't really count.)

But I did not actually buy any more Bruce CDs, because they were all still in the same crappy no-frills CD format that they'd been in ever since CDs were invented, and it seemed obvious that they must be due for some sort of remastering or bonus-CD treatment of some sort. Well, clearly my patience has paid off.

Posted by Francis at 04:16 PM | Comments (4)

September 26, 2005

Why it's better to not use words sometimes

I just picked up a new CD from the Cargo giveaway table, Bruce Cockburn's "Speechless", a collection of his guitar instrumentals (mostly collected from previous albums, but with some new recordings). The CD is very good indeed, but the actual reason I must blog about it is the sticker on the cover, which features this blurb:

"Cockburn's instrumentals are dazzling...compositionally and technically years ahead of their time."--Acoustic Guitar magazine

Now, remember, I like this album, but that seems a little oddly phrased to me. Bruce Cockburn uses proprietary instrumental-composing technology that is not available to the rest of the human race! He was writing 2005 instrumentals in 1996.

Posted by Francis at 12:19 PM | Comments (9)

September 24, 2005

Dear Heaneyland: a lonely elephants column

It's time once again to look into the Heaneyland search-query bag. What's in there today?

elephant masturbate
undoing a bra in make out

Oddly enough, both of those search queries lead you to this entry.

Anyway, since I like to treat search queries as if they were written to an advice column, here is my advice.

Elephant masturbate. I cannot recommend this, except to elephants.

Undoing a bra in make out. We live in an age of empowerment for women (at least, until John Roberts is confirmed), and you can show your solidarity by letting them take off their own bras. Or you could just keep an eye out for the ladies who aren't wearing one.

Posted by Francis at 09:19 AM | Comments (6)

September 23, 2005

Something for everyone

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 08:18 PM in Six Things | Comments (8)

September 22, 2005

So many words, so little time

Blame Vardibidian.

Puzzle fans with OCD should not click here

Posted by Francis at 01:32 PM | Comments (13)

The wheels on the plane go round and round, except for the ones in front that go screeeeeeeeeFOOM

I turned on the TV while I was restringing my guitar last night and watched the second half hour of "Lost" -- but of course I'm not going to talk about the show, I'm going to talk about JetBlue. First there was a news break about the JetBlue plane with the screwed-up landing gear making a safe emergency landing at LAX. And then, maybe 10 minutes later, there was this commercial.

Somehow I think, despite the happy ending to the drama, an ad that includes lines like "We take off, we fly around for a while, and then we land...somewhere else" is not helping to reinforce a positive message about JetBlue's commitment to detail.

Posted by Francis at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2005

Ex-centric advertising

What is it with Yahoo and exes? On the Yahoo mail login page, there's a rotating set of messages telling you things you can do with Yahoo mail that you might not know about (sort incoming mail into folders and whatnot) and today I saw a new one: "Quick! Find email from an old flame." Which might not have piqued my interest if it weren't for this other Yahoo message that I see every fifth time or so that I send an e-mail:

Get the phone -- your "ex" just emailed.
Never miss an important message just because you're away from the computer. Set up Yahoo! Mobile Mail Alerts, and on your mobile phone we'll let you know the second a new email arrives.

It just doesn't seem like a message from one's ex is something most people are apt to be excited about and fumbling for their phone to read as soon as possible. Did someone at Yahoo have an unexpected breakup or something?

Posted by Francis at 09:10 PM | Comments (4)

I am a bad blogger

...and forgot to point out that you can now (where "now" means "as of a month ago") download the crossword I wrote for Stay Free! magazine.

Posted by Francis at 01:48 PM | Comments (4)


You may have heard, but Google is getting sued over Google Print; the Authors Guild claims copyright infringement. Whatever, people. I gave them permission to post my book.

Posted by Francis at 12:37 PM

It looks like that Band Aid song "Do They Know It's Bunny Day" has finally paid off

Once again, art, giant pink bunnies.

I have two comments on this:


2) Rain?

(Thanks to Debby for the link.)

Posted by Francis at 10:55 AM in Bunny Day | Comments (4)

September 19, 2005

On the march

Went to see March of the Penguins last night with Rose and our friend Martha and liked it very much (despite the fact that the print was absolutely wretched, with bad sound quality and lots of scratches -- so don't see it at the Village East). But despite the many scenes of KILLINGLY CUTE baby penguins, it was hard to interpret what we had seen as a feel-good movie, what with the periodic death and months of hardship. And it was even harder to interpret it as pro-Christian propaganda, even though that's how some conservative Christians are spinning it.

Hack reviewer Michael Medved says the movie "affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice, and child rearing." (The New York Times eschews serial commas, but I added one; so there, AP Style!) And Christian I'm-going-to-say-he's-a-reporter? Andrew Coffin says, "It's sad that acknowledgment of a creator is absent in the examination of such strange and wonderful animals. But it's also a gap easily filled by family discussion after the film."

I would like to see the crib sheet that would prep parents for dealing with the difficult questions they might have to field after that movie:

"Why do the parents leave the baby penguins on the ice all by themselves instead of teaching them how to swim? When I grow up, are you going to leave me on my own and never see me again?"

"Why do the penguins only stay together for a year? Is it okay to have multiple committed relationships over time? Are you going to get divorced after I grow up?"

"Why does God want to kill cute little baby penguins?"

"Why were the grown-up penguins totally ignoring that bird that was attacking their babies? Morgan Freeman never said."

Morgan Freeman also kept quiet for the penguin sex scene, although given how many times he said variations on this phrase over the course of the movie, I did half-expect to hear him say, "Not all the penguins will survive the mating process."

Posted by Francis at 02:27 PM | Comments (6)

Away from the numbers

On the train this morning I was sitting within six feet of two people solving sudoku puzzles, as well as a guy wearing a T-shirt with the digits 0-9 scattered all over it. I felt surrounded.

Posted by Francis at 12:50 PM | Comments (3)

September 18, 2005

You may fire when ready, kiddies

Gays are not the ones recruiting our nation's youth.

Posted by Francis at 06:35 AM | Comments (3)

September 17, 2005

Important news for those of you who care about this sort of thing

There is yet another version of Grow. It is shaped like a cube. It is wack, as usual. Enjoy.

Posted by Francis at 02:05 PM | Comments (9)

Or maybe terrorists did it. New Orleans is "Crescent City", after all, and you know...Muslims...crescents...

Oh, this is rich. The government is trying to find a way to blame environmental groups for the failure of the levees in New Orleans. Good luck with that.

Posted by Francis at 01:52 PM | Comments (1)

The second line of defense

If you would like to feel good for two reasons -- because you are helping victims of Hurricane Katrina and because you are listening to the best fucking music ever -- I suggest you buy yourself a copy of Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans; Shout! Factory is donating all profits from sales of the 4 CD set to the Red Cross.

Posted by Francis at 11:42 AM

September 16, 2005

Another milestone

I just banned my 3,000th spam-commenting IP address. Thanks for stopping by to tell me about video poker,!

Posted by Francis at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2005

Get down tonight

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 07:25 PM in Six Things | Comments (11)

This is why Bush wanted to install a John at the UN

So juvenile, but so delightful.

Posted by Francis at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2005


The nominees for the Thurber Prize were announced today; Holy Tango is not among them. The Daily Show book was a given, and I know nothing about Funny in Farsi, but The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers? It's a book of frickin' fake news articles. I mean, yes: he is funny. But I am prejudiced against humor with a limited shelf life, and it's basically The Onion done by someone else. So I am disgruntled.

I'm also annoyed that the nominees were apparently decided back in August and leaked somehow. Do the actual nominees get notified of their status while the rest of us are left hanging for a month? That's not cool.

Posted by Francis at 11:18 AM | Comments (7)

September 12, 2005

Proposed slogan for the GOP midterm campaign: "We put the 'super-fun' in 'superfund'!"

The Independent says New Orleans could be uninhabitable for a decade and that the Bush administration is covering up the extent of the damage. Wait, but this hinges on the idea of the Bush administration not being fully honest with the American people! Clearly this is nonsense.

Posted by Francis at 03:00 PM | Comments (3)

September 09, 2005

Tees, off

Six things.


Posted by Francis at 06:13 PM in Six Things | Comments (10)

September 08, 2005

Give the people what they want.

Six things. Or half a thing, depending on how you look at it.


Posted by Francis at 07:35 PM in Six Things | Comments (16)

September 07, 2005

How the Internets have poisoned the language

Because it is poor form to copyedit someone's note on a proof, I will note here instead that this:

/ a slash. This:

\ a backslash.

Thank you.

Posted by Francis at 02:25 PM | Comments (9)

September 06, 2005

And then when Condoleezza complained that Spamalot was actually kind of hackneyed, Bush promised to fix that too

Rose and I spent the weekend in Boston (friends were throwing a big party), and, while we were having breakfast at our local diner before heading off to catch the Greyhound, we saw the Daily News front page headline: SHAME OF A NATION. Seems the Daily News, like Rose and me, thought our government was proving itself to be a royal bunch of fuckups in the Katrina aftermath. Hmm, I thought, this seems like a hard story to spin; I wonder what headline the NY Post has come up with, since they never, ever criticize the GOP, unless it's to take them to task for being too liberal. Could this tragedy actually be big enough to make the Post say something against the Bush administration?

On the way to the subway, we spotted a copy of the Post. The cover featured a picture of Bush sitting down with someone, conversing thoughtfully. The headline: "I'll Fix It." By staging photo ops, apparently.

(Here is an alternate take on the same two covers.)

Posted by Francis at 06:27 PM | Comments (1)

September 03, 2005

FEMA: the F is for Feeble

Wonkette has posted a transcript of the mayor of New Orleans getting very feisty indeed on the subject of how totally fucking lame the government has been at taking care of things post-Katrina.

Of course, they did so well beforehand. I mean, why didn't someone tell Greyhound that it was irresponsible of them to shut down operations in New Orleans two days before the hurricane hit? There should have been fucking government-sponsored buses there to evacuate people who didn't have the resources to leave town themselves. And then there's the fuckwit in charge of FEMA.

I want to go on, but I'm really too angry to marshal my thoughts into any semblance of coherence.

Posted by Francis at 12:00 AM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2005

But maybe he just didn't want to interfere with acts of God

What's that? So much money was being spent on the war in Iraq that Bush misled the country into, there wasn't enough left over for shoring up levees in New Orleans? Well, that's just peachy. I think preventing major cities from turning into lakes might just be one reasonable interpretation of "homeland defense," myself.

Posted by Francis at 01:51 PM | Comments (3)