The Smashing Pumpkins – Thru the Eyes of Ruby

high school week, eh? where to begin? my musical awakening began probably back in 6th grade (by awakening, i'm basically referring to when i jumped off the assembly line of manufactured crap feed by the top 40 dispensers), and it was not a moment too soon. there were a few bands that, if not immediately responsible, at least helped ease the ride. the pumpkins were one of them. the sonic, fuzzy wonderland that was siamese dream helped immensely. but we're not talking about junior high, we're talkin' high school. mellon collie and the infinite sadness was released about a month and a half after the beginning of my freshman year, and it really was the perfect soundtrack for it: sprawling, moody, unrequited, self-absorbed, pretentious; it fit the year like a glove. the fact that the pumpkins themselves basically acted like a bunch of freshmen didn't hurt. here's one of the album's opuses:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhSp3qumH4

i didn't want to play the pumpkins, but i can't deny the role they played. and if i was going for a pumpkins vid alone, i probably would've picked something else, but, oh well. i never really bothered with anything after mellon collie, but that and that before it was pretty awesome. chamberlain is hands down one of the best drummers of his era, if not beyond. billy, despite being an insufferable prick, is also underrated in his chops, but i was underrated in my time too. 😉

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First Monday Book Day: A Dickens of a Time

Drood: A Novel
I have been a big fan of Dan Simmons's work since I first ran across his Hyperion. The Hyperion Cantos, as the four-volume set is known, is a big-canvas space opera work, but one that is particularly literate, drawing liberally on the spirit of Keats as well as the structure and feel of the Canterbury Tales.

The first book in that group, Hyperion deservedly won both the Hugo and the Locus for best sci-fi novel in 1990.

I likewise devoured his Ilium and Olympos cycle, big on Homer, but also drawing on Shakespeare and Proust, of all people.

Simmons also is a renowned horror author. I thought it time to delve into that side of his work when I picked up a copy of this book some months ago.

Well, I'm not sure that "horror" is quite the right word for this book. But, wow, it has been engaging. Simmons has fictionalized the backstory to Dickens' last, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, telling the tale through the perspective of Dickens' longtime friend and frequent collaborator, the now-mostly forgotten Wilkie Collins.

The book is a fascinating study in upper(ish)-class Victorian England. Simmons appears to have thoroughly researched Dickens and Collins (although I admit that I know little of either, so mebbe not?), such that he weaves an intimate portrait of Dickens as seen through a close collaborator's eyes. That collaborator happens to be a laudanum addict and, by mid-book, an opium addict, which adds its own mysterious fog to the veracity of the narrator's perspective. The detail -- of London, of daily life, of the lives and careers of Dickens and Collins -- is rich and believable.

I'm "only" 400+ pages in to this dense, twisting, 775-page tale. But I'm thoroughly entertained and engaged. (and, sorry, but even though I know that knowing the ending won't ruin a good story, I haven't peeked ahead).

What are you reading?

2011 Game 141: Night of the Living Dead

Zach Stewart vs. Scott f'ing Diamond. Since we got our Run already today, I may be utilizing the Boy's Netflix subscription tonight.

For your dining pleasure: MLB ballparks ranked by most food safety violations.

Oh, and here is a recent feel-good story from another ball sport. Do you suppose Jeter will ask NYC press not to push for his immediate enshrinement in the baseball HOF when HE retires ascends to heaven on the wings of doves?

2011 Game 140: Day of the Living Dead

Humber Humber at Snapplesocks. Game one of two today (thanks, jobu, for the reminder).

is there anything more exciting than a split double-header between two teams out of the running in early September?

today, my focus will be on (1) getting my First Monday book post written; and (2) grillin' (Andouille sausages and Tofurkey kielbasa sausages, pasilla peppers), making pinto beans, and chillin'.

so, how about a win against th' hated??

Bilateral Cerebral Incontinence Strikes Hack

The disease, once thought to affect only politicians and political journalists, is both physically debilitating and detrimental to any career with public contact. That's what doctors told Jim Souhan earlier this summer. Longtime readers alerted the Star Tribune medical staff that something in Souhan's delivery was off, and that the paper's resident enforcer appeared to be struggling more than usual to support his warrants and make credible arguments.

Extensive examination revealed that Souhan appears to have contracted bilateral cerebral incontinence (BCI), a mental affliction for which there is no known cure. Star Tribune doctors immediately ordered testing of the paper's entire pool of reporters, discovering an undisclosed number of infected journalists. A source close to the organization has indicated the other reporters cover politics for the paper, suggesting a possible chain of transmission from politicians to Souhan.

Little is known about the specific damage caused by bilateral cerebral incontinence. In fact, I spoke with several trainers from other news organizations, and they indicated to me that they've never heard of such a thing. One, on the condition of anonymity, said it sounded like a PR-driven diagnosis with no credible medical basis, indicating simply that "the goon is completely full of shit, right up past his eyeballs."

In an effort to establish, once and for all, whether BCI was a legitimate malady, I spoke with specialists at the Thomas H. Moodie Institute in Bismark. The opinion was unanimous: not only does bilateral cerebral incontinence exist, but (in their opinion) Jim Souhan has a classic case. The increasingly irrational and unsubstantiated attacks in his columns indicate full-blown BCI. Souhan, say the specialists, simply can't help himself. The volume of twaddle in his system has compromised his ability to think clearly, conduct even a minimum of actual research, or distinguish fact from feverishly-held personal views. The most visible symptom of BCI is evacuation of built-up septic mental effluent into columns and blog posts, which Souhan has exhibited at an excessive and increasing rate this summer. The Moodie Institute specialists concur that transmission from politicians, the usual carriers of the disease, to Souhan likely occured via his colleagues at the political desk.

As BCI is untreatable with any known medicine, little can be done for Souhan. Not wanting to be painted as a malingerer, Souhan has informed the Star Tribune's management that he intends to continue writing regularly as long as he doesn't harm the paper's circulation or oft-rumored negotiations with Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

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I won't link to the various columns Souhan has written in the "Mauer is soft" vein, nor do I think it necessary to mention each besotted reference to Cuddyer (or Hunter), or to even point out how gobsmackingly stupid his post on Kevin Slowey was last night. All that we know. The question I'm more interested in is why this inanity is allowed to continue.

Souhan's attacks on Mauer are damaging the Twins in several ways. They are corrosive to Mauer's relationship with Twins fans. This affects everything from Mauer jersey sales and Mauer posters to the atmosphere at that shiny new ballpark. These things eat into the bottom line and hamstring the Twins' ability to capitalize on the popularity of their marquee player.

Moverover, it hurts Mauer's relationship with the club if every time he's savaged in the press the only noise coming from the Twins' front office is the chirping of crickets. The Twins willingly signed Mauer to a contract which pays him $23 million per season until 2018. If they actually think Mauer is as soft as Souhan frequently implies, they should have made their offer low enough to ensure they collected compensation picks when Mauer signed with a team in the Eastern time zone.

Worse still, the club's complicity or apparent unwillingness to defend its star player and hometown boy significantly harms the club's free agent drawing power. What free agent with enough talent to entertain multiple offers is going to simply shrug off his agent telling him that the club in Minnesota allows its homegrown star to be pilloried by the press on every possible occasion? Sure, there's plenty of new ballpark money to spend, but any agent worth his commission is going to demand some additional consideration for placing his client into such a FUBAR situation.

If Souhan's expressing the views of the Twins' management, the whole bunch needs to be sacked. If he's trying to gin up controversy (read: circulation) and provoke people on the club, whether that's Joe Mauer, Gardy, Dave St. Peter, Bill Smith, Jim Pohlad, or someone else, he wins whether or not the club addresses his unfounded claims. The front office has to go on the record at some point, simply to protect its significant investment in Joe Mauer and preserve its ability to lure quality free agents to Minnesota.

Minor Details: Games of 9/4

Pawtucket 4, Rochester 3 in Pawtucket.  The Red Wings scored three in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead, but the Red Sox scored one in the fifth to tie and one in the eighth to win.  Dustin Martin had two hits.  Aaron Bates hit a home run.  Deinys Suarez surrendered three runs on three hits and five walks while striking out five in 4.1 innings.  Cole DeVries worked 2.2 shutout innings, giving up two hits.  Chuck James took the loss, allowing the winning run on two hits and a walk in his only inning.

New Britain 12, Trenton 9 in New Britain.  The Rock Cats broke a 5-5 tie with six in the sixth to stay alive in the playoffs.  Yangervis Solarte had two singles and two doubles, raising his average to .330.  Deibinson Romero had three singles and a double.  Chris Herrmann had four hits and drove in three.  Joe Benson singled and doubled.  Brian Dozier had two hits to raise his average to .315.  Bobby Lanigan struck out six in 5.1 innings but allowed five runs on nine hits.  Matt Schuld got the win despite allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in 2.2 innings.  Reading defeated Binghamton 5-4, so the Rock Cats remain a game out of the playoffs with one game remaining.  Reading's game today starts at 12:05 Central, while the Rock Cats play at 12:35 Central.  If the two teams tie for the last playoff spot, there will be a one-game playoff tomorrow.

Jupiter 7, Ft. Myers 4 in Jupiter.  The Hammerheads scored two in each of the second, third, and fourth innings.  Danny Rams and Oswaldo Arcia each singled and homered.  Aaron Hicks singled and doubled.  Steven Liddle had two hits.  B. J. Hermsen surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks in just four innings.  Shooter Hunt struck out four in four innings, giving up a run on two hits and a walk.

Beloit 5, Wisconsin 1 in Beloit.  The Snappers scored three in the second and never trailed again.  Wang-wei Lin had four hits.  Michael Gonzales and Tyler Grimes each had two doubles and a single, with Grimes scoring three times.  Michael Tonkin gave up only an unearned run on just two hits and a walk in five innings.  Manuel Soliman worked two shutout innings, giving up three hits.  Madison Boer struck out three in a scoreless inning.

September 5, 2011: Long-Term Commitments

These two at my house still won't stop fighting, and it's going to make my decision to move on from this house easy. They've been together for ten years and are still trying to figure out if they're right for each other. I've known them for three weeks and I'm dead certain the answer is no. I probably shouldn't say anything, but damn, I could save them from wasting more time.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.