Friday, November 17, 2006

Madi Boombadi

I first met Madi because she was my brother's friend. Then we became friends. Weird how that happens.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

and that's whassup

First weekly video podcast from and that's whassup! news.

That's my homeboy Chaim behind the desk. We're from the same town, but we didn't meet until about a year ago in Crown Heights. He's friends with (L-R) Esther, Becky, and Rivkah; in fact, he goes way back with Riv and Becky, and I think it was Rivkah who introduced us at the Shabbaton last year. Chaim's dad, Rabbi Lazaros, is the shliach in our hometown, but I've never met him because I didn't get involved with Chabad until I was in college. There was a period of a few months between when I left school and when I moved to Brooklyn, during which I could have gone there for Shabbos, but I was too green at the time to get my ass up out of bed and walk for an hour in the middle of winter to daven with a minyan at 10AM.

Chaim lives on the other side of the neighborhood from me, so I don't bump into him too often, but I see his brother Moshe pretty regularly at 770. I met Moshe at 1414 on the first day of Rosh Hashana, because I had to make a kiddush and he was sitting in front of the first bottle of wine I saw that had anything left in it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Most Painful Moment in Twin Peaks

Harriet Hayward's poetry reading in the second season premiere episode.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Gut Woch

Remember when electronic devices had that little reset button? You had to use a paper clip or something to get to it, and sometimes you had to hold the button down for a few seconds. Sometimes it made a scary beeping noise. If the device had an LED screen, all the images in the screen would turn on, which was kind of cool to look at.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Typeface from Maniackers Design

Maniackers Design has released what looks to be a legible, perhaps even useful, typeface. I think it's part of a series of loosely related typefaces.

『096MKSD - Synapse - Alphabet』はMKSDスタンダードフォントシリーズの第3弾として制作。某建築設計事務所のロゴタイプデザインを進めていく中で派生したアイデアにヒントを得てフォント化しました。本文用、見出し用、ロゴタイプにも対応したオールマイティー&スタイリッシュな使いやすいフォントです。字間は比較的狭く設定しました。MKSDスタンダードフォントシリーズ第1弾は『071MKSD』、第2弾は『078MKSD』。(2006.10.10 Up Date)

On a sidenote, Japanese graphic design is where it's at. After you've explored the MKDS website, I highly recommend a thorough perusal of their links page. It probably won't take very long for you to notice that I've cribbed some graphics from a few of these websites. Most of the homepages are in Japanese with English trim, but navigation is more often intuitive than hunt-and-peck.

A gut moed, un a gut yor.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I live here.

Over the past several weeks, I've noticed an increased police presence in the neighborhood. Evidently, there's been a rash of violence in these here parts. I'll save the race relations discussion for another time. Right now, I'd like to direct your attention toward a recent article on Shmais, where you can see some photos of my block. I know you're all dying to see what a slum I live in, so here's a shot I took over the summer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hit the Deck, It's the Decal Man

I just realized, after three years or so, how well Modest Mouse is able to circumvent formal pop conventions on The Moon & Antarctica. Not only are the songs coherent, but the absence of familiar song structure enhances the rambling feel of the album as a whole. The scattered and clustered versification, the deranged cowboy poet narrative voice that seems to manifest itself in most of their lyrics, the actual sound of the band's music! The Moon & Antarctica is cohesive, sure, but it's also good for listening to.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-haaa!

Somebody's car alarm has been going off for the past four or five hours. It sounds like a metronome set to about 400 bpm. The volume, tempo, and pitch constantly vary independently of one another, as if the thing needs new batteries. It's too inconsistent to be trance-inducing or hypnotic.

I think it's actually making me retarded.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Where's Waldo? Lubavitcher Edition

Slichos at 770. I didn't last long. I was maybe ten feet from the door, my glasses were fogging up, and it was getting harder to breathe. I've never been in a more crowded room after 1am, including all the parties I went to in college.

Kyle Gann

Just read an excellent post by Kyle "Oops, I did it a" Gann. Here's the paragraph that roped me in.

The new course I'm teaching that I wrote about recently is titled "Progress Versus Populism in 20th-Century Music." It describes classical and postclassical music since 1913 as racked between two contradictory convictions. One is the idea that music should continually increase in subtlety and sophistication, each new generation learning everything that came before and moving continually forward in a linear evolution. The other is the idea that music not understandable by untrained listeners is elitist and therefore politically suspect; that by appealing only to the super-educated it marginalizes itself and becomes safe, soaking up cultural resources without doing anything to break down the advantages that the elites - financial, corporate, cultural, and otherwise - have over the common man.

You can read the rest of it here.

I'm not familiar at all with Gann's music, but I plan on checking it out before the end of the week. His music shouldn't be too hard get ahold of; he's generously made it available for free download via his home page.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Errol Morris & the Interrotron

Is Errol Morris one of those guys who just never runs out of ideas? Perhaps.

I found out about him my senior year in high school, when I was reading John Pierson's Spike, Mike, Slackers, and Dykes. Turns out one of my co-workers was a production assistant on First Person. Yeah, that's right-- I worked with a guy who's in the IMDb. He told me all about the Interrotron, which continues to amaze me. I seem to recall this co-worker telling me that Morris had augmented the Interrotron with several cameras, redubbing it the Megatron.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Annie Potts used to be a real looker, I'll say!

I saw her on TV a while ago, in that movie where Mark Hamill works in a garage and he's in debt and something about drag racing, I'm kinda fuzzy on the details but it looked like it was made in the 1970s, possibly before Star Wars. [It's Corvette Summer, and Star Wars (1977) predates it by a year.]
Back to Annie Potts. Don't get me wrong-- Ghost Busters is an all-time personal favorite, and Janine Melnitz is unconditionally cool because she's Jewish (It's implied, Melnitz is a Jewish name). But how on earth she went from playing Luke Skywalker's love interest to putting the moves on Louis Tully is beyond me.
I wonder what she really looks like, and if she's Jewish in real life, and is that her real voice? Because if it is, she has got to hook up with Fran Drescher. I can just see them doing a film adaptation of a Neil Simon one-act about two married couples, with Louis Anderson and Gilbert Gottfried as their respective husbands.

Stupid Joke of the Day

Q: What did Descartes say when he invented the Cartesian graph?
A: "Well, I'll be!"

Monday, September 04, 2006

I would like to make an announcement.

It's been so long since I last forgot to wrap tefillin, I don't even remember when it was. That is all.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Support Your Local Shluchim

From Illusion and Disillusionment, by R' Simcha Levenberg:

This world is brought into existence every single moment by the word of G-d. Practically speaking, a G-dly energy is invested within all facets of creation. Every moment, place, and being is constantly enlivened and created by this G-dly spark of life. As strange and psychedelic as this may seem to you (save those who have eaten a heroic dosage of Psilocybin,) this is the true reality of our world. However, this energy is completely hidden. The nature of habituation conceals the miracle of life and time marches on, with us following closely behind. We view and experience ourselves as separate beings with individual agendas, goals, lives, cars, sling-boxes, xb360’s etc. We feel that we control our lives and destinies. Very rarely do we even consider the G-dly energy uniting all of creation with its vilifying force.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stephen Colbert Talks to Eleanor H. Norton

Is she playing along with him? I don't know, but I sure laughed my ass off.
Aired July 27, 2006, on The Colbert Report.


The first online banner ads I saw were on Prodigy, and I'd like to think those ads were lousy because online advertising was so new, and technology was limited. Prodigy looks pretty raw after 15+ years, but how I wish someone had warned us of the horrors of Macromedia Flash! Manipulating graphics is child's play. Photoshop has gone the way of the Thermos and other genericized brand names. Do they still use airbrushing anymore?
I recently came across an ad, probably on, that buries those sexed-up boob-fest ads. You can view it here. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I got sucked in.

Currently infatuated with Twin Peaks.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Drummer Motian Still in Motion at 75

Paul Motian, on the Electric Bebop Band:

I wanted to play bebop-- only bebop-- with electric instruments. I sort of was looking for young musicians that really didn't know the music, and I wanted to see what would come out.
Tom Vitale's segment also includes some words from Steve Cárdenas, a personal favorite of mine.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today is my Grandma's birthday. Happy birthday, Grandma!

Fresh Sound New Talent on eMusic!

I suspended my eMusic subscription last month, and suddenly my favorite record label shows up in their catalogue. I'm not going to get myself too worked up about it because, after all, I plan on reinstating my subscription when I can afford it again. Also, they've only got two records available right now, and I already have one of them.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Well, shit on me!

I just found out that Buster Poindexter is really David Johansen. You know, for someone who always thought he knew so much about punk rock, I sure do miss a lot of details.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Skateboarding on NPR

Here's a quote from Skateboarding Old Days, by John Dicker:

[. . .] I was on the verge of landing an ollie fingerflip. You kick the tail, catch the board mid-air, and flip it beneath your feet. Back in 1988, it was an impressive trick. Now it's as archaic as an underhanded free throw in the NBA.
In other skateboarding/NPR news, Tony Hawk is this week's essayist on This I Believe. His essay Do What You Love reminds me of all the high school writing assignments I would scramble to complete on the busride to school, the morning of the due date. I wonder if Tony finished writing his essay during the drive to the radio station? Probably not, but if the headshot they're using suggests anything, I'd say he sure looks like he was up late, no doubt working on that essay.

Tony's skating manifests such absolute control that I'm often caught off guard to see him out of his element. For anyone who hears him on NPR, I suggest investigating the reason for his celebrity. Here's a good starting place.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett : Pink Floyd : : Brian Jones : The Rolling Stones

Here's a video clip of Pink Floyd playing "Astronomy Domine." According to the file name, it's from a 1967 performance at the Beat Club. I must have downloaded this during my Soulseek days. Now you can download it, too, because I gave in and uploaded the file to RapidShare.

Postscript. There's an extended version on YouTube that includes some insightful commentary and analysis by Hans Keller.

Say Kaddish for Roger Keith Barrett


Day to Day, July 11, 2006 · Syd Barrett, co-founder of the influential British rock 'n' roll group Pink Floyd, has died. Musician and Day to Day contributor David Was of the group Was (Not Was) offers a remembrance of the talented but troubled Barrett, who struggled with mental illness and drug addiction and left Pink Floyd before the group hit it big.

I'll follow this up with a tribute, or something to remember him by. It seems appropriate, I guess.

Friday, June 30, 2006


...Just when I start listening to them, they go and break up.

In junior high, it was worse; I was like a hex on my favorite bands at the time. Within a year of becoming a Nirvana superfreak (embarassingly so, to the point where I can no longer listen to them), Kurt Cobain killed himself. It took me about another year to get over my Nirvana/Cobain obsession, and by 7th grade I was all about the Ramones. They broke up before the end of the schoolyear. I even remember where I was when I found out. I was in Walden Books, at the Natick Mall, looking through the music magazines. The headline was Say It Ain't So, Joey!

Footnote: the theme at my bar-mitzvah party was music. My table? The Ramones!

Friday, June 23, 2006



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Skateboarding in Crown Heights

I rode my skateboard over to the sofer yesterday, to pick up my tefillin. It was the first time I've skated since I moved here in April. I'm not too good, even when it comes to just pushing around, and it took me some time to get comfortable enought to skate with the flow of traffic up Kingston Ave. I only had one near-miss, when some lady almost took me out with her car door by accident. Some of the frum types looked at me with a mixture of derision and curiosity, which I expected. I haven't seen any of the kids from this neighborhood riding skateboards, except for the one black kid I saw last motzei shabbos.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Nick Drake: The Wes Montgomery of Rock?

The orchestrations in those Nick Drake recordings ruin his songs. When they're not ridiculous horn arrangements with saxophone obligatos and overeager electric guitarists in the background (e.g., "Hazy Jane II"), they're jarring string overdubs that sound like overdubs. Short of a duet with P. Diddy, nothing could be more of a distraction from his songwriting and his guitar work.

I was listening to "River Man" and I could just see Nick Drake on a tall stool, playing his guitar and hunching over to sing into the microphone. Just him, alone in the studio. And then I could feel that stupid string arrangement and it felt like it was coming from somewhere else. It was not natural. It was like throwing a blanket over this beautiful, haunting, mysterious song that requires more investigation than that ridiculously inappropriate fucking overdub would allow.

OVERdub. Laid OVER the track.

The string entrance around the 3:45 mark sounds like some kind of bad joke. Or like the arranger ran out of ideas and threw that in there. It sounds like a semi-random choice of notes/ideas hastily thrown together, perhaps to meet a deadline. This ranks up there with those shitty string arrangements on those Wes Montgomery recordings. Actually, these are probably worse because at least you could hear what Wes was playing in those Don Sebesky charts.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner

The other night, I was up until 2am, listening to music with my roommate. In order, we listened to Bill Evans's Portrait in Jazz and McCoy Tyner's Supertrios, both in their entirety. Kas dug Bill Evans, but I think he was especially drawn to McCoy Tyner's muscular approach. About halfway through the Tyner record, he blurted out, "If this is the kind of music you listen to, no wonder you want to be a musician."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who would win in a battle royal?

Mary-Kate Olsen vs. Ashley Olsen vs. Hilary Duff vs. Lindsay Lohan vs. Ashlee Simpson.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Dylan Phase

In eighth grade, I went through a serious Dylan phase. I had borrowed Another Side of Bob Dylan from the library and copied it onto a cassette tape, which I probably listened to every day for several months. My favorite track was "Ballad in Plain D;" something about that song made me think about the girl I was crushing on at the time, and I'd feel this strange longing I couldn't identify.

I remember buying The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin', and Another Side, packaged as a three-cd set, at the Natick Mall with my mom. Listening to those three albums became my after-school regimen, which occupied the three or so hours until dinnertime. I wanted to cry whenever I listened "Girl From the North Country," "Boots of Spanish Leather," and "Ballad in Plain D." I didn't understand it until years later, that this was the first time I ever had an emotional response to music.

I think I'm starting to develop a taste for poetry. I haven't liked poetry since the sixth grade, when Miss Piligian made us memorize Whitman. Of course, it was while reading Whitman in the bathroom at 12:30am just now that I had this realization.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Joe Henderson in Japan

Adam Kolker talked to us once about how he used to go see Joe Henderson at the Blue Note (or Vanguard, I forget which). He said Hen' would take these long solos that went on for choruses and choruses, just gradually building up in intensity; Al Foster would just be there with him, matching that same level of intensity. Kolker asked us, what if you had that many levels of intensity? Same scale, just smaller increments. What if you could play that many fortes? How many fortes can you play right now?

So I'm listening to Joe Henderson in Japan, and I'm trying to understand it in the context of what Kolker was talking to us about.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Scrunt Comics Presents THE PERSONALS

"Wild" Bill has a new website.
From the info page:

THE PERSONALS is inspired by free online dating postings (such as Craigslist). The cartoons are not meant to ridicule the pathetic people who post them, but rather celebrate the isolated existence we all have experienced, some way or another. THE PERSONALS is intended for adult audience. Updated bi-weekly!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Healing Hands, Part 1

Derek Kirk Kim is good. And he's getting better.

Half-Assed Record Review

I downloaded a record label sampler from eMusic a few days ago; I think it's supposed to be a bunch of hip, new indie bands. I listened to the first half of it last night, and it was really underwhelming. All the bands sound like Magnetic Fields meet Joy Division.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ever see a photo of someone and suddenly hear that person's voice in your head?

The following is an excerpt from my personal journal.


I was looking through one of the Jewish photo communities on and this one cute, 20-something girl with brownish/reddish hair, she had all these photos of herself taken at arm's length. I dunno, I looked at this one photo of her, I don't think it was the first, maybe second or third, and I heard this kind of nasally girl's voice in my head. It fit the way she looked, her face, if that makes any sense. Not like Fran-Drescher-you-can-light-a-match-on-her-voice kind of nasal. It was cute, I guess, but moreso just distinctive. For some reason, cousin Mindy's high school friend Shira comes to mind, but the last time I saw her was at Jana's wedding. I think that was ninth grade for me?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

This actually happened to me.


New font by Maniackers Design. MKDS is one of my all-time favorite websites.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Terry Gross Drops an N-Bomb

Ahmir Thompson, aka Questlove, is the drummer for the Grammy-winning hip-hop group The Roots. The sextet melds musical styles: rock 'n' roll, jazz fusion, funk, poetry, shout-outs to hip-hop pioneers, black nationalism and groove-laden neo-soul musings. (This interview originally aired Feb. 6, 2003.)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Your mother wears combat boots. Posted by Picasa

Nuns and Dynamite! Posted by Picasa