Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dirty Hippies: a new blog of potential interest to S&R readers

Some time back I mentioned that a group of us dirty hippie libruls have started a sports talk blog (because we love sports as much as we hate your freedom). Now, the same cast of ne’er-do-wells has launched an actual political site called, simply enough, Dirty Hippies (democracy, unwashed). Several of us here at S&R are members, and the site will feature a variety of fare from some of the finest thinkers, writers, agitators and wiseasses in all of Blogistan.

Give it a look if you get a chance.

In Denver, the MeloDrama is over; in New York, it’s just beginning…

After months and months of wrangling, speculation, posing, posturing, misdirection and strategery, wheeling and dealing, and fear and loathing, the Carmelo Anthony circus has finally departed the 5280 bound for the Big Apple. Praise Jebus, and may we never have to hear the term “MeloDrama” again.

So, who got the better of the deal? We’ll know for sure in two or three years, but that’s no reason not to pontificate a bit now. There are all kinds of opinions, as you’d imagine. Many people think New York gave up way too much, especially since they believe that the Knicks could have waited and signed him as a free agent this summer. There are problems with this view, though – mainly, waiting could have cost Anthony $40-50 million, depending on the new collective bargaining agreement. Read more

Journalism Accomplished: why aren’t news organizations telling the whole truth in Wisconsin and why aren’t the state’s conservatives demanding secession?

I tend to avoid programs produced by major network news divisions like I would the galloping herpes, but I do occasionally tune into CBS Sunday Morning. In its better moments, Charles Osgood helms a tranquil, reflective magazine foregrounding the people, places and things that define what’s best about American culture. At its worst, of course, it’s just another fair and balanced mainstream media medicine show, with a comment from Ben Stein.

This morning we got a frustrating dose of worst, as the producers decided to have a look at what’s happening in Wisconsin. Read more

The Huffington Post: force for good or liberal sweatshop?

I promised myself that I’d hold fire for a few days when the AOL/Huffington Post deal was announced. My initial reaction was that the sale shone a bright light on some dysfunctional dynamics within the “progressive” media sphere (and this was even before I read Dr. Denny’s outstanding take the other day on how we’re all just serfs in the machine), but I was also aware of the fact that I know a number of people who write at HuffPo, and that I’d probably do well to hear their opinions first.

So I did just that. Read more

EmbAerosmith: American Idol and the final humiliation of Steven Tyler

I watched one season of American Idol a few years back out of a combination of boredom and morbid curiosity. It was everything I had imagined and less, a welcome-to-the-Fall-of-Rome extravaganza where everything wrong with popular music, if not American popular culture in general, was frog-marched past the cameras in a weekly parade of cynicism and banality that would have made a huckster on the order of PT Barnum blush like a virgin who’s just realizing that “fluffer” doesn’t mean what she thought it did when she replied to the want ad.

Bread and circuses. Hold the bread. Read more

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

Originally published June 20, 2004. Updated February 14, 2011.

For some time – a few years, to be honest – I’ve been trying to imagine how some artists get better with age (or at least retain the level of energy and creativity they exhibited when they were younger), while others go completely to hell. Peter Gabriel, Graham Parker, Van Morrison, Don Dixon, John Hiatt (and even Bowie, to a lesser extent) – these are people who you can still count on, even if you think that the old stuff was better. All of them have had high spots in recent years that at least nudge the 4-star mark, and you might justifiably nurture a sense that the next thing they release could turn out to be brilliant.

This column isn’t about those folks. No, this little list is dedicated to the First-to-Worst Club, a set of artists who once ruled, but somehow found a way to deteriorate as the years passed. In some cases – and these are the ones you’ll find at the top of the list – you have people or bands who went from legitimate greatness to breathtaking suckitude. In other cases you have people who simply lost their edge or were abandoned by their muse. They may not be forging new frontiers in suck, they’re just muddling along, mere shadows of their former selves.

So here it is – Lullaby Pit’s Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen list, with thanks to a few friends of the Pit who contributed suggestions and pointed out artists I had somehow overlooked (or repressed, as the case may be….) The criteria are subjective, as always, but fairly simple – who soared the highest, then fell the lowest?

1. Elton John Read more

The University of Colorado provides a handy how-not-to lesson in re-branding

The University of Colorado recently announced that it “will be phasing out its hodgepodge of logos, replacing them with a standard CU symbol.” University spokesman Ken McConnellogue says that “It’s important for the University of Colorado to be consistent and coordinated with its messages and images. In a world where people are bombarded by images and messages, we can’t afford to be fragmented and disconnected in how we present ourselves.”

I have no problems with this in principle. That said, CU got skinned. Read more

Who’s really the greatest NFL franchise in history?

As the Super Bowl approaches, I’m hearing a lot of talk centering around the question of which franchise is the NFL’s greatest. In some cases it takes the form of “who is really America’s team?” Whatever the heck that gets you. Other times, as with countless spirited “debates” on sports talk radio’s arguing with idiots shows, the question is a more germane “who is the greatest franchise in NFL history?” Which is actually an interesting enough topic, and one that bubbles up from time to time. This year I think we’re hearing more of it because the Super Bowl features two of the primary candidates, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, and they’re playing in the home stadium of a popular third candidate, the Dallas Cowboys. Read more

Old Ethan, Halfway Home

          - Imbolc 2011, 2:17am MST

Old Ethan like a walking stick, daylong shadow:
sets him after a halfway pole
fifty mile through a
dankling woods.

October throwed his scarecoat down.
November framed those woods a house of smoke.
December painted the black days white.
Come January, the ringnecks froze in place.
Treelocked they'll sit 'til April
flumes their melted songs to the sea.

Now Midwinter:

          a milepost on a swerving road,
          a weed in a tombyard. 

Turns him 'round and marks for home.
Never know home until you get there,
never know halfways at all.

Old Ethan, Halfway Home

          - Imbolc 2011, 2:17am MST

Old Ethan like a walking stick, daylong shadow:
sets him after a halfway pole
fifty mile through a
dankling woods.

October throwed his scarecoat down.
November framed those woods a house of smoke.
December painted the black days white.
Come January, the ringnecks froze in place.
Treelocked they'll sit 'til April
flumes their melted songs to the sea.

Now Midwinter:

          a milepost on a swerving road,
          a weed in a tombyard.

Turns him 'round and marks for home.
Never know home until you get there,
never know halfways at all.