Gators don't sweat.

Friday, October 14, 2005

We want the funk!

Hey, did anyone else catch the cool P-funk documentary on PBS this week? It was a great film. I must admit that after Scorsese's Massive four hour Bob Dylan doc that aired a couple weeks back, an hour seemed to be too little time to properly tell the epic tale of Geroge Clinton and Parliment/Funkadelic, but nevertheless, it was an entertaining film with several new bits of history that I hadn't ever heard before. If you did miss it it appears to be airing again in Chicago on Sunday morning at 3AM on WTTW. Set you VCRs (or DVRs if you'r a fancy pants.)

I still remember the first time I heard Parliment. Delancey's mom was gone, and he had a New Year's party at his house. I remember sitting in his room at the back of the house in low light and listening to a couple CDs (cassettes, maybe even) that Dan Bass had brought over; Pretty Hate Machine and The Mothership Connection. After that our high school parties had a bit more funking going on and a bit less Smashes, Trashes, and Hits. The funk has been with me ever since...

It is on.

I've been really lucky the past few months. There's been such great music coming through the city, and I've seen some fantastic shows. Last night was no exception.

USE was playing at Schuba's last night and while I do love me some USE, I hadn't really been planning on going to the show until reading a couple reviews of the New York show. Factor in the fact that it was only $8, and the fact that I'd been laying pretty low the past couple weeks, I figured this it it. It is on.

When we got there Tha 446 was on stage. We only caught the last couple songs but it seemed like fun. Tha 446 were rolling deep. There were at least 15 people onstage. Several were passing the mic while the ladies danced and a guy in an owl mask stood in the corner. They didn't do anything particularly groundbreaking, but they were high energy and fun. Apparently they're opening for the Go! Team on the 29th, but like you, I'll be at Otto's rocking to Figora.

We had missed the first "band" Pleaseeasaur. I had seen Pleaseeasaur open up for Neil Hamburger at Schuba's sometime in the past year, and all I really remember is a yellow plush costume, puppets, and watching the show for the car wreck spectacle of it. They weren't good. Seeing as how they were here at Schuba's again opening a show, I figured he was just a wacky local, so you can imagine my surprise when I heard that he was from Seattle like the two headliners.

As the third band was setting up, I noticed that several people were drinking Sparks. While I know that the hipster New York bars serve Sparks, I hadn't seen it outside of a liquor store, convience store or my apartment here in the Chill. With a high energy show from USE on the way and a yawning Girlfriend on my arm, the choice was clear.

After being told that we could only get Sparks at the bar upstairs, we headed up, ordered a couple, and stood there as the bartendress ignored the $20 we had slapped on the bar. After a few quizzical looks at each other and the bartendress, we realized that the Sparks was free!! I mean, Free Sparks and a cover of less than $10? How can you beat that?

By the by, our first round was actually Sparks Light. It was free and it helped me on the road to tipsy, but aside from that, I can't recommend Sparks light. It tasted way to artificial sweetener-y to me. I made sure the next one was as sugary as could be.

So the third band to rock was The Divorce, also from Seattle. They were good, solid, upbeat, power poppy Indie rock with just a dash of keyboard, and although it took a few songs (and/or a few swigs of Sparks) for me to warm up to them, by the end of their set I was really digging them.

Then it was time for USE. Wow! I haven't pogo-ed, bounced, or fist banged so much at a show in a long time. You'd kind of expect a band called United State of Electronica to be made up of nerdy laptop peoples, but in fact we had full band action- two guitars, bass, drums, keys/vocorder, and a couple rockin' babes. They brought the house down the whole time with their upbeat dance rock stylings. Plus, these guys could give Chromeo a run for the money on Vocorder overload.

All in all a fantastic, happy, upbeat, and yes, totally joycore show. If you haven't checked out their album, let alone their live show, I highly recommend it! Even if they didn't play "La Discoteca".

Saturday, October 01, 2005

What did Clinton Know?

Bill Clinton was interviewed in Hong Kong a couple weeks back:

From president to president, do you pass along a list of secrets - you know like where's Jimmy Hoffa? What really happened at Roswell? Without giving away any state secrets, is there something that we can all look forward to in the future to read about that you know that we don't know that will make reading the National Enquirer required reading?

(Laughing and blushing) Well I don't know if you all heard this, but, there was actually, when I was president in my second term, there was an anniversary observance of Roswell. Remember that? People came to Roswell, New Mexico from all over the world. And there was also a site in Nevada where people were convinced that the government had buried a UFO and perhaps an alien deep underground because we wouldn't allow anybody to go there. And uhm… I can say now, 'cause it's now been released into the public domain. I had so many people in my own administration that were convinced that Roswell was a fraud but this place in Nevada was really serious, that there was an alien artefact there. So I actually sent somebody there to figure it out. And it was actually just a secret defence installation, alas, doing boring work that we didn't want anybody to else see.

So let me give you a serious thing, though. In 2000, I was able to participate with Tony Blair and representatives of the French, German and Japanese and Canadian governments in announcing that we had succeeded in sequencing the human genome. Perhaps some of you have investments in all these bio-development companies and now you know that we cloned Dolly the sheep and apparently they may have cloned a dog. And my own view is that assuming we don't do something stupid like burn ourselves up with the global warming or blow ourselves up with a military conflict that we could have just as easily avoid, I think a lot of these bio-technology issues will be the dominant sort of intellectual and ethical challenges of the lives of those of you who are 10, 20, 30 years younger than I am.

Because I think that we are going to be able to save peoples' lives that, you know, in my generation couldn't be saved. And we are going to come up against the limits of our own mortality in a way we never could before. And a lot of the things that happen - good and bad - will be stranger than anything ever written in science fiction. But I don't know the answers, which is one reason I would like to live to be 100 just to see what happens. (Laughter)

So that means there's a list? Or no list? (More laughter - that drowns out his question.)

What? What did you say? I don't know what you said, but you should have said, 'There's absolutely no risk of that. Given my misspent youth, I'm lucky to be here now.'

What I did say was, is there really no list? Or is there a list?

If there is one, I don't know it. The Roswell thing, I think, really was an illusion. I don't think it happened. I mean I think there are rational explanations and I did attempt to find out if there were any secret government documents that revealed things. If there were, they were concealed from me too. And if there were, well I wouldn't be the first American president that underlings have lied to, or that career bureaucrats have waited out. But there may be some career person sitting around somewhere, hiding these dark secrets, even from elected presidents. But if so, they successfully eluded me…and I'm almost embarrassed to tell you I did (chuckling) try to find out.

(Laughter and applause.)

I do believe, by the way - one more flaky thing - you can also be flaky when you're out of office. I believe that now that we know that there are not hundreds, not millions but billions of other solar systems out there, thanks to the Hubble telescope and what we know about black holes of the universe, and all of that, the dimensions of physics are such that I would be quite surprised if in the lifetimes of people that are no older than 30 years old, we don't discover some form of life in another universe.

It's pretty clear that there was something approaching elemental life on Mars at one time in the past, based on what we discovered there. So I say that, only to say this: I hope all of you, wherever you live, will continue to support space exploration, whether manned or unmanned, it's not so important, but that we keep doing it. And I'm afraid that there will be a waning interest in it, in the future. I think that's a great mistake. I think we should continue to explore the boundaries of our existence, both into the earth and beyond the skies.

When I was president we discovered in the bottom of the Amazon River, (we were just a small part of this, but we discovered) two previously undiscovered forms of marine life so deep in the Amazon that they had never been found, in all the efforts of marine biologists.

So I think that there are a lot of interesting discoveries - biological, on earth and other discoveries in the heavens that those of you who are younger will get to see unfold. You'll have all kinds of problems with them, but on balance it'll be a plus. And it'll make life much more interesting.

From Finance Asia, via Sploid

"It didn't think what we think"

Oooh. This is a good read. A comic book retelling The Religious Experience of Philip K. DIck. It's a little bit eye straining to read, but totally worth it. (via)