Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The greatest thing I have ever seen

The video below is a recap of the real Rain Man. It is simply amazing; I cried, I laughed, I cheered from my seat. Please take 10 minutes, watch it, and revel in the amazement that is the human brain.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This week in Richmond - great music edition

Sweetness. I gotta tell ya, if you are going to live in Virginia and you want a variety of good music, the place to be is Richmond. For the next three nights, Thadd and I are about to see some really great shows, for very little money.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
- The Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) at Innsbruck Pavilion, gates open at 6pm, tickets are ONLY $10.00. Some info about DSO:
There are a lot of cover bands around and a lot of those are Grateful Dead cover bands. You've seen them, they're good. Most include the music of Jerry Garcia, Bobby Weir et al with other cover songs and some originals mixed in. DSO is a different breed of "Dead" band. What Dark Star Orchestra does is recreate the Grateful Dead. Not with hippie wigs and fake beards but through the live music. They play the setlist song for song in the same arrangements used by the Dead members of that period. When you're at a DSO show you may really be in the Providence Civic Center back in May of '81. Or you could even be at the 1973 Denver Coliseum show listening to Weather Report Suite. Who knows?

Actually no one does and that's part of the trip. The date of the show to be recreated is kept secret right up till the performance. Oh, there are clues (the number and placement of microphones, the keyboard setup, a midi guitar) and the secret becomes part of a game. Usually the audience in front starts throwing out guesses toward the end of the first set. The wiser observer waits for the start of the second set to venture a showdate. Sometimes a curious look comes over the faces of the audience as they realize, "Hey! I was at this show!" followed by a smile as they realize...they're at the show again! Remember: This is an exhibition, not a competition. So wagering! The original showdate, for those who are DEADBASE-impaired, is announced at the end of the night usually followed by an extended encore of the band's choosing.

Even the press has caught on to what they're trying to do. Rolling Stone did a feature piece on the band in its June 20th, 2002 issue and USA Today says DSO is "channeling the Dead." Relix Magazine also did an in-depth feature article on the band in their Spring 2000 issue (Vol. 27 No. 2) and the Washington Post declared them "the hottest Grateful Dead tribute act going" but what they do is not just a tribute to the Grateful Dead but a testament to the enormous number of unique setlists they performed in their long career. Dark Star Orchestra takes the framework of the original setlists and sees where it can take them.
It's gonna be awesome, and we are psyched.

Next up...

Thursday, May 24, 2007
- Medeski Martin and Wood (MMW) at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, doors open at 5:30pm, MMW starts at 7:30pm, opening band (Homeade Bread) starts at 6pm, tickets are ONLY $20 each. Some info about MMW:
Medeski Martin & Wood (or MMW) is a US jazz trio originally formed in 1991, consisting of John Medeski on keyboards, Billy Martin on drums and percussion, and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar.

The band members were introduced to each other by jazz drummer Bob Moses, who had performed with both John Medeski and Chris Wood, and was Billy Martin's instructor. Medeski Martin & Wood's first performances together were at the Village Gate, a popular New York jazz club. They were initially an acoustic jazz trio, but Medeski quickly added a Hammond organ when the difficulties of touring with a piano became apparent. Their first album, Notes from the Underground, is a record of their entirely-acoustic era. All of their subsequest albums reveal Medeski's usage of a wide variety of electronic keyboards, including a mellotron, a melodica, and a clavinet, among others. Chris Wood entirely eschewed the electric bass for MMW's first three albums, and still relies heavily on the acoustic upright bass in recordings and during live performances. Their earlier albums reveal a soul jazz oriented direction, which is the primary theme of their well-known 1996 album, Shack-man. MMW's "Blue Note Years", which spanned the years 1998-2005, showed them delving deeper into dense, electronic funk than their earlier albums, although the band continued to experiment with free jazz both on their albums and in concert.

Medeski Martin & Wood's live performances are renowned for their exploratory nature. Their concerts usually involve extended improvisations, which may be both arrhythmic and atonal, an aspect of their musicianship that is rarely documented in the studio. They also embark on an occasional acoustic tour, reverting back to the instrumentation that they began with. Their album Tonic is an example of these more contemporary acoustic performances. They have also done short tours of entirely improvisatory performances, a feat which few musicians would undertake. These shows usually consisted of two sets of improvisation, followed by an encore of a song from an album.

The band received some of their first significant exposure outside of the New York City jazz scene by performing with Phish at their October 14, 1995 concert, which led to the association of the group as a jam band.
If you don't know them this is a GREAT price, and an AMAZING venue to see them perform. We. Are. SUPER PSYCHED.

Last, but definitely not least...

Friday, May 25, 2007 - The Roots (well known from the Dave Chappelle Show) at Richmond Intermediate Terminal on the James, gates open at 6pm, tickets are ONLY nothing, aka FREE admission. Some info about The Roots:
The Roots' original lineup included Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter (MC) and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson (drums), who were classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. As they began to play at school and on the streets, they added a bassist named Josh "The Rubberband" Abrams, who went on to form the Jazz group The Josh Abrams Quartet. They later added another MC named Malik Abdul Basit-Smart ("Malik B."), a new bassist Leonard Nelson Hubbard ("Hub"), and a keyboardist named Scott Storch, who eventually became one of the most prominent rap producers in the industry. Another MC, Kid Crumbs, was a part of the group for their first album, Organix, but did not appear on any later albums. Another MC, Dice Raw, joined on for cameos in later albums. Scott Storch also left to pursue a producing career following the Do You Want More?!!!??! album. Although, the split was on amicable terms and Storch continues to produce tracks for Roots albums to this day. The Roots filled his void with another keyboardist, Kamal Gray, who is still a member.

A beatboxer named Rahzel also joined the group and contributed from 1995-1999. Alongside Rahzel was vocal turntablist Scratch, who DJ'd for them during live concerts. He abruptly left in 2003. Malik B. left the group in 1999 due to drug problems but continued to record, making occasional cameos on future albums. A guitarist, Ben Kenney, had a short stint with the group and contributed to their Phrenology album, but left to join Incubus as their bassist. A percussionist, F Knuckles, was added in 2002 and guitarist, Kirk Douglas (a.k.a. "Captain Kirk"), replaced Kenney. A vocalist, Martin Luther, toured with The Roots in 2003 and 2004 and contributed to their Tipping Point album. The current members of The Roots are Black Thought (MC), ?uestlove (drums), Hub (bass), Kamal (keyboard), F Knuckles (percussion), and Captain Kirk (guitar).

All members have worked with PETA to promote animal compassion and vegetarian lifestyle.
It is all going to be awesome. Please drop me a line if you will be at any or all of these shows. We would love to see you. :)

You don't play chicken with a sadistic sociopath.

While I share the chagrin and perhaps the outrage at the feckless seeming of the Democratic leadership, I feel that living to fight another day better serves the interests of progressives.

The sad fact of the matter is that Bush would leave the troops over there to die without any money. He would not begin to remove them even while knowing that their funding had run out. And it would be irresponsible to knowingly leave the troops unfunded at the hands of a delusional Commander-in-Chief.

Another sad fact is that we could not count on enough Republican votes to force our timetable and benchmarks and standards through. That fact says more about the President, and his Republican allies, than it does about the Democrats. In fact, the only thing it says about Democrats is that we need more of them!

Yes the leadership kicked the can down the road. That is disappointing.

But it is the wisest move politically and it prevents the GOP from foisting responsibility for this policy off on its opponents. By September it would be hard to imagine that what sits in the mind of the American people will be the fact that Democrats lost this battle. The reality is that they are powerless to stop the President because of his allies in Congress.

It is not the fault of Democrats that our Constitutional system has limits.

Were it not that Bush and the Republicans are so divorced from reality, are so craven, are so stubborn that they insist on pursuing neither a policy for victory nor a strategy that enables our exit, we would have the votes to implement a timetable and a shift in focus toward the political reconciliation that must take place to make any military effort lasting.

That's it, Fred Thompson is simply not allowed to run in 2008

I know the conservative blogs are clamoring all over themselves to get Law and Order's Fred Thompson to run for the Republican Presidential nom in 2008. I can't really figure out why, seeing as how many bloggers and members of the media have pointed out that he has numerous skeletons in his closet and that he really would not be the best choice. Of course, I cannot really fault anyone for being bummed about their party's current choice of candidates, since I am certainly not impressed with the frontrunners on the Democratic side. However, I have decided that Fred Thompson is simply not allowed to run for President of the United States. Why? He would be putting the entire cast and crew of the critically acclaimed Law and Order franchise at risk. From a comment by AIAW over at Mason Conservative:

If Fred Thompson runs, and I think he will, the announcement will be after the Law and Order season. It's not frivilous or self-serving. He has contractual obligations and as soon as he announces, any episodes he's in will get pulled, at least, from network t.v. It'll be interesting to see what the cable stations do.

Anyway, it would not be ethical to leave NBC, the producers and the rest of the cast in the lurch at the end of their season. So, hold tight :)

Posted by: Anonymousisawoman | May 21, 2007 at 09:32 PM
That's that. Thompson equals dunzo. Why should the entire Law and Order franchise have to suffer through his run for President, lose millions on syndication and replacement of his character, only for him to either lose the nom race altogether, or win the nom and then lose to the Democratic nom? This seems silly.

He should do what he does well, which is act like a conservative DA in a very liberal city. Plus, his wife looks better on the red carpet than she will on Air Force One.

UPDATE: If you have any doubt that Dems will win the Presidential race in 08, please take a look at this and explain to me why the republicans are...well, they are broke compared to the Dems. You can't win if you don't have the cash.

I am also disgusted and bored with it all

I don't have much to say beyond these words of wisdom, both in the comments and in the diary. I have made no secret of the fact that I am waiting for someone else, ANYONE ELSE to jump into the Democratic ring for the 08 race. Yeah, it's still early; it's still really early. But as each day passes and I look at our "frontrunners", I just want to get a new hobby.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A MUST READ on Don McEachin

Please take a look at Vivian J. Paige's most excellent write up on Don McEachin and his press conference regarding Benny Lambert's ties to Sallie Mae, the student loan "company". I have to say, I pay those venomous snakes every month for my student loans taken out years ago, and they have horrible business practices. From Ms. Paige:
Lambert serves on the board of directors for Sallie Mae and has used his position as justification for contributing to a conservative Republican who voted against Democratic efforts to reduce student loan interest rates.
If Mr. Lambert serves on the board of directors, I would certainly love to sit down with him and speak to him about the hundreds of thousands of dollars they make off of college graduates and their families year after year. It must be nice to be rolling in it while young adults are still eating the Ramen noodles they snacked on in dorm rooms.

Here is Don's full statement, also courtesy of Ms. Paige (bolding is me):
Affordable college education should be the right of every Virginian – and is the dream of every American family.

Unfortunately, too often corporate greed and corporate malfeasance on the part of for-profit loan corporations like Sallie Mae that lend money to our students have gotten in the way of this aspiration.

As you may recall, my opponent, Benjamin Lambert acknowledged contributing $1000 to conservative Republican Congressman Buck McKeon. It is disturbing, and perhaps very telling, that this is the same Congressman McKeon who was the leader in the fight OPPOSING successful Democratic efforts that would cut student loan rates in half. (Washington Post, 1/17/07).

Republican Congressman McKeon, Mr. Lambert and his fellow members on Sallie Mae’s Board of Directors may believe higher rates on student loans are acceptable, but students and their families know otherwise.

Just as distressing as Sallie Mae’s determination to keep their profits high by keeping student loan rates high, are the unethical business practices in which Sallie Mae has engaged while my opponent has been part of their leadership, serving as a member of their Board.

In New York, Attorney General Cuomo has forced Sallie Mae to enter into an agreement that has made the company stop practicing egregious business practices including bribery, kickbacks, and collusion. (Washington Post, 4/12/07)

Here in Virginia, Sallie Mae has been accused of participating in illegitimate business practices involving unaccredited trade schools and illegal debt collection activities. (

As a member of the General Assembly, my responsibility is to the people I represent – not to a for-profit Corporation whose business practices are questionable and whose relentless push for profits come from the sweat of our hard-working families and students.If elected to the State Senate, I will introduce legislation that will help protect our students from unethical and predatory lending practices.
-Prohibit Sallie Mae and other for profit loan corporations from forming exclusive relationships with any school in the Commonwealth
-Insist that students are explicitly notified in every communication that loan corporations are for profit and that they should examine every loan offer carefully
-Prohibit Sallie Mae and other for profit loan corporations from offering gifts or other enticements directly to schools
-Force full disclosure so that it will be apparent when seemingly alternative loan offers are just from subsidiaries of Sallie Mae
-Authorize the creation of a statewide trust for direct lending to students by universities; creating a non-profit alternative to the for profit loan corporations, like Sallie Mae
Additionally, I will work with Senator Webb and our entire Congressional delegation on the federal level to put some real reform in the student loan scam, ensuring full disclosure and working to reduce interest rates and find more resources for our deserving students.

Senator you told the Richmond Free Press: “When you serve on a cooperate board that pays as much as Sallie Mae does, you sometimes have to make contributions to people regardless of party,”

1.8 million in Sallie Mae stock sales and 4.4 million in stock you still hold in Sallie Mae - is that the price that caused you to turn your back on the Democratic Party-the same party that has supported you throughout your career? (SEC Disclosure form DEF 14A: SLM Corp, filed 4/9/07 and SEC disclosure Form 4, sales on 1/24/06, 9/13/06, and 12/20/06)

I ask you, Senator please explain how the profits that you and Sallie Mae have made have not come at the expense of our college students.
Right on, Don. And thanks for caring about your constituents.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blogroll issues

I destroyed my blog last month. It's fixed, but the blogroll needs to be updated. Let me know if you want on or off in the comments, and I will see what I can do.


I really couldn't be more proud of this ranking

According to Ward Smyth, I rank very high on Ben Tribbett's list of likes. I am just under Lowell, Ben himself, and both of their mothers. I am just above Vivian J. Paige, so I hope we don't have to duke it out. Ward provided a great visual image, which I stole from his site and will repost here.

My life is complete, pholks. I can die in peace now.

Of course, I cannot link to all of the fine bloggers above without linking to the greatest blog in the land, EVER, The Daily Whackjob, or the DWJ if you will.

**if you guessed that this post was a fun filled snarky link fest, you win a prize!**

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Governator says NO

In a totally expected move, Governor Schwarzenegger's office has declared that Paris Hilton will be treated no differently than anyone else when it comes to appeals. The fact that she is famous (again, I ask, WHY?) will not make a bit of difference in regards to her appeal.
A spokesman for Mr. Schwarzenegger indicated an intervention from the film star turned politician was unlikely.

"It would be inappropriate for the governor to insert himself in this battle until the individual has exhausted all of his or her legal remedies," said spokesman Aaron McLear.

"And at this point I don't think this is the case."
Well, good. I cannot imagine letting Paris off the hook would be very good for the Governator's ratings.

In more news that is totally expected, Paris is still driving.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Socialites, Hollywood - please don't waste our politicians' time

I always think it's cute (read "pathetic") when Hollywood elites suddenly remember that there is a life outside of clubs, Cristal, and cocaine once they find themselves in legal trouble. Ah, how nice it must be to bask in the glow of millions of dollars, fame and fortune, and be able to ignore the world around you. Now, I am not saying that all of Hollywood ignores the political world; the Republican party sure didn't come up with the term "Hollywood elite" for nothing (it's called JEALOUSY, actually, bc we all know they accept every cent they can from Hollywood, they just don't get much, so they complain). But I find it hilarious that once the tabloids and their fans turn on them they suddenly demand the attention of those in REAL power.

Take Paris Hilton. The girl gets caught driving on a suspended license twice, once while drunk, and once going 70mph with her headlights off while it was dark. Paris Hilton claimed she had no idea her license was suspended, yet the police on the scene found a signed copy of her license suspension in the glove compartment of the car she was driving. I guess that means that she signed it, got in her car, put it in her glove compartment, and drove away from the station. Interesting, to say the least.

How does she respond? By claiming that "from now on, she will pay complete attention to things." Oh; well, that's good I guess. Thanks, Paris, because life is all about getting 100 chances to do the right thing. How, you ask, did her mother behave after the judgment was handed down to young Ms. Hilton? She called the entire affair a waste of time and taxpayer money, and asked the judge and prosecutor for their autographs. Nice. Because why should Paris Hilton be responsible for her actions? Readers, raise your hands at your keyboards if you even have a SLIGHT feeling that you would be served with the same or higher sentence for the same crimes as Paris.

::raises own hand::

OK, good. We understand one another. Now, as you probably know, Paris Hilton has filed an appeal. She has also started a petition on her myspace page (complete with spelling errors) to get herself out of jail (I should point out that a petition to keep her in jail for longer than her sentence is beating her own by a 2:1 margin). In my opinion, that is all fine and good. She wants to file an online petition? Great, anyone can, for any reason, at any time. What I have a problem with is the Hilton family demanding that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pardon Paris from serving the minute amount of time handed down to her for her egregious actions. How much more pathetic can you be? I hate to quote that psychopath Nancy Grace, but hey; you do the crime, you do the time. Sorry Paris; you are just going to have to try to make it in a minimum security prison and a private cell. Believe me, you'll be better off for it.

Now let's move on to Lindsey Blohan Lohan. Lindsey Lohan, the adorable little redhead from The Parent Trap and Mean Girls has capped off a "successful" stint in rehab by getting caught on camera doing loads of cocaine in a club bathroom. Now, of course, Lindsey claims that none of this is true, that the pictures are just not her, or that the white powder she is shoving up her nose isn't cocaine. Right. Why don't you check out the video and the pictures and you be the judge?

Now to be fair, Lindsey hasn't asked any politicians for help yet, this time. But as reported back in December of 2006, Lindsey is quick to demand the help of politicians when she...well, when she fucks up royally. And because it never gets old, I will repost some of her psychobabble.
Lindsay Lohan has asked former American Vice President Al Gore to help her clean up her image.

In an email written by the 20-year-old actress to friends and lawyers she states she is sick of her portrayal in the media and wants to hold a press conference to state her opinions on "how our society should be educated for the better of our country." The 'Mean Girls' star - whose rambling email is littered with spelling and grammatical errors - summons what she bizarrely calls the "way of the future-Howard Hughes" to help her "release a politically/morally correct, fully adequite [sic] letter to the press.

"I want to hold a press conference. And will do anything necessary to do so."


According to the New York Post newspaper, Lindsay writes: "Al Gore will help me. He came up to me last night and said he would be very happy to have a conversation with me.

"If he is willing to help me, let's find out. Hilary [sic] Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Evan Metroplis [sic], and John Daur who works with them would be willing, if we just ask. If we just ASK."
Remember; Al Gore had nothing to do with Ms. Lohan, as well he shouldn't have.

Ladies, please; we who participate in and care about politics want nothing to do with this garbage (unless we are writing about it for fun, like me). Paris, you need to go to jail, and clearly need a lot of help. So go work on that, and how about you let our politicians do what we pay them to do, what we VOTE THEM INTO OFFICE TO DO. I'm sure you have shopping trips to make anyway.

Just for fun, here is a picture of Lindsey flashing the peace sign (I am not sure she has any idea that there is a war going on) and another picture of Paris in a vote-or-die shirt, even though she was not registered to vote in the 2004 election.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A great place to spend some money...

If you believe in electing strong Democrats to the state senate, then look no further than voting for/volunteering for/contributing to Donald "The Don" McEachin. I have made it quite clear here at WOS as to why I think we need to replace Senator Lambert/Allen in November, so this is just a phriendly reminder. Don rocks, and the state of Virginia would be better off with him representing us than turncoat Benny.

In somewhat related news, the Lambert signs are popping up all over downtown Richmond. Of course, they are on abandoned buildings and such, so I don't think anyone is actually agreeing to host them, but hey; beggars can't be choosers. Please let me know if you have any old George Allen signs/stickers, as I think they would make a great accompaniment to the Lambert signs. They ARE BFF's, remember?

H/T to VJP

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Some changes here at WOS

Good morning, pholks. As most of you know, I broke my blog last week, and I was too lazy to fix it. This past weekend, the fantastic and fabulous Richmond Democrat helped me work out the kinks. He rocks, and I cannot thank him enough. Thanks, JC!

That being said, please let me know if you are missing from the blog roll, or if you would like to be added/taken off of the roll (Richmond bloggers, politics or not, I am especially interested in adding some of y'all to the roll, so please leave a comment). Let me know how the template looks as well. There have been some slight and subtle changes, and I'm interested in your views.

In other housekeeping news, I just want to let you all now that this place may start to look a little different in the future. I have learned a lot over the past year, and I credit the blogosphere a great deal. I have made friends (and perhaps some enemies) through the VA blogosphere, and I have been and still am incredibly happy to participate. However, I feel that at times, I cannot see the forest through the trees because politics clouds my vision. Lately, I have been enjoying things I put on the back burner, and I don't want to give them up just yet. I plan on forcing Thadd to participate here more, as he really is a lot more eloquent than me and I think readers will be surprised at his bipartisan views and ideas. I also plan to open this place up for more than politics. I have some ideas for certain themes for certain days, but nothing is set in stone yet. I definitely want to add more about music, the arts, and of course; celebrity gossip. We will be focusing a lot more on Richmond, and you shouldn't be surprised if restaurant reviews and more start popping up around here. Honestly, I am quite excited about this new venture. We'll see how it goes, and as always, please give me your views and ideas.

Finally, I am honored to announce that I have been asked to participate with another awesome group of bloggers (and friends) and I have happily accepted. Thanks to all at the Daily Whackjob for the invitation and for accepting another crazy person to the list of contributors. This seems like a good fit for me, bc clearly, the word "whackjob" is not one that I haven't been called before (many times, in fact). So if things look a little light here, come on over to the DWJ and stalk me there.

Cheers, all. Have a fantastic rest of the weekend.

I knew this was coming, and it's HILARIOUS

I absolutely love this video. I gotta say, Fred Thompson is providing the Democratic party with some great jokes going into 08...