I really don’t want to write this, but I said I would. I read Ed Schultz’s Straight Talk from the Heartland over the past week or so. I was expecting a lot from this book, probably unfairly. Ed Schultz is a talk radio guy from North Dakota, and is apparently a rising star in the progressive talk radio world (it’s a small world, I know). Unfortunately, I’d never heard of him. But, from the info I saw before I got the book, it looked like just what I was looking for: a book about progressive values for conservatives. I’ve been dying for one, and it just doesn’t exist (that I know of… if you know of one, please clue me in). Books from authors on both sides of the ideological divide are usually cheerleading affairs for their own kind. From Al Franken to Sean Hannity, they’re not trying to convert anyone.
I was hoping this was the one. It’s not. It’s so not, it’s not even a good cheerleading book. I didn’t learn anything new from this book other than “Big Eddie” has a healthy ego and played some college football. His writing style is probably the same as his speaking style: a Limbaugh-ian false modesty wrapped in short, punchy sentances. It works great on radio. In a book, it makes for painful reading.
Like I said, maybe I’m expecting too much from this book, and this review is a reflection of my dashed expectations. But, at its core, this just isn’t a very good read. It takes a while to get started, and well, feels like it never really does. If you’re a listener of his show, you’ll probably like it because you can imagine him speaking. Actually, this would probably be a pretty good book-on-tape. But, compared to Al Franken or Joe Conason’s books (my two faves), this is junior varsity material.
Pain sucks. New music doesn’t. Here are some mini-reviews to keep you happy until the pain goes away and I can think up something worth posting:
* Eels: Shootenanny! – Wow. I love Souljacker, and this one doesn’t disappoint either. From the driving riff on All in a Day’s Work, to the racing jingle and humor of Dirty Girl, to the wonderful soaring strings and raw sentiment of Somebody Loves You, it’s all here. The album never disappoints, no matter how far afield it goes.
* Luna: Rendezvous – If you like them, you’ll like this album, there’s no doubt about it. If you’ve never listened to them, this is a good album to start with. The Own & the Pussycat has grown on me. It’s a wonderful twist on the nursery rhyme. Astronaut kicks some serious tail, and Buffalo Boots is one of the best road songs I’ve heard since Dire Straits.
* Massive Attack: Danny the Dog – This one snuck up on me. I usually try to keep up with them, and since their albums are usually years and years apart, I don’t miss one. How this one slipped by, I’ll never know. It’s a soundtrack, and it shows. I need to listen to it a few more times, but if you like the laid back, trippy version of the band (Blue Lines, Protection, Teardrop), this isn’t the album for you. It’s more industrial and electronic than 100th Window (which was more of both than Mezzanine – my all-time, hands-down, no-close-second favorite album), and has fewer vocals. But, it’s Massive Attack; how wrong can you go?
I’ve got some more to review, and will get to them eventually. There’s also a book review coming that I’m having a hard time writing (of a book I really wanted to like, but really really didn’t).
Blah, blah, blah… I’ve been busy. I’ve been writing lessons for the class (which is going swimmingly so far), working on a new top secret personal project, a top secret work project, and throwing my shoulder out of socket (no idea how or when I did it, but man, does it hurt).
Life is good, and I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. The California Contingent is in town, and it’s been a lot of fun seeing Samantha with Max and Brian. We stood Brian up to her the other night, and they’re the same height. Brian is six months, and Sam’s a year. I don’t know how we do it, but Jen and I make big babies.
I’ve got lots to talk about, really I do. I just need to find time to write it all, and right now, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to go around.
Goodness, it’s purdy. I may just use it for nefarious purposes: Typeface Of The Year
One of my the students in my class has set up Movable Type on her own domain and is now blogging!! I’m so proud… I feel like my kid has just started riding his bike without training wheels or something. Ok, without further ado, here she is: ..:WabeSabe:... Godspeed, little blogger!
Winston the Badass
We went to the National Firearms Museum (it’s weird) on Saturday. I knew Winston Churchill was cool and all, but a badass? I never knew!
I was reading The True Story of Audion this morning, and this quote just leapt out at me:
The lesson? It seems you can either be free to do anything you want, to create anything you dream of without answering to anyone, or you can be rich. You’re not likely to be both.
I’m not sure why it did, but it has the ring of truth. I don’t really relate to working for myself, since I’ve worked for the Giant Triangle for my entire adult life (it’ll be a decade in May). But, I do understand freedom. I’ve carved out a nice little spot for myself here, and have a lot more freedom that other folks I know who do the same thing. I can inject myself in interesting projects or just do what’s expected (not that I ever do that).
For example, I can get away with things like the pirate organization (which is going very well, I might add). I can get away with being in the W3C. I don’t know exactly how I did it, or I’d tell you.
I answer to a lot of people, yet I still feel free. Why?
I don’t know what his secret is, but it makes me laugh… long, and hard until tears squirt out the sides of my eyes, and boogers roll out of my nose. Yes, it’s booger-rollin’ funny.
I have a new favorite song: Bonnie & Clyde from Luna‘s Penthouse. The “Wooo-hooo-hooo” bits just make me smile, the beat, violins and cooler-than-thou sultry French lyrics (about Bonnie & Clyde, and Jesse James being dead) are just heaven to my ears.
Luna is a recent discovery, and they’re just peachy. They’re jangly, punchy and poppy, without overdoing any of it. They strike the right balance (with few exceptions) between pop and moody alternative. The lyrics are fun without being overly introspective, and the beats are always toe-tapping. If you’ve never heard of them, go pick up Bewitched, Penthouse or Romantica. You won’t regret it.
And completely unrelated to anything, someone found my site today while searching for “dudepants”. What did they find? They found one of my all-time favorite posts: Captain KangerDude. I love finding stuff I’ve written that I’d totally forgotten about…
The hardest part is the waiting. I’m giving a presentation on web standards (and revealing a pirate redesign of one of AOL’s big products) in 30 minutes. I’m sitting here in this empty conference room, which I got to an hour early to make sure all the equipment worked and that I could get the projector to do 1024×768. It all does, which I figured out in about ten minutes. That left me fifty minutes to sit here, by myself and get nervous.
The thing is, I shouldn’t be nervous. I know this stuff inside and out. I’ve been standing on my soapbox for years now trying to get people to see the benefits of using web standards instead of “old school” tables, spacer gifs and non-breaking spaces. I could give this presentation in my sleep (and if you ask Jen, I probably have).
I don’t know why I’m nervous, or if playing Morcheeba over the conference room sound system is helping (but it is kinda fun). I’ll let you know how it goes…