Awesome Canadian Friday – Joni and Sarah

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Awesome Canadian Fridays – Mary Margaret O’Hara

Few people have the genuine, sincere ability to exactly vocalize the thrash and motions of your psyche, in that unique desperate chaotic granular abandon behind your eyes.

In 1989 I was working at the D.C. Tower Records. The art department came out with that week’s issue of new release posters (cut from colored foam board, the words and images all stacked up on each other). Mary Margaret O’Hara’s “Miss America” looked intriguing to me, so I cued up my employee selection. An hour later a winnowy, sometimes stuttered/sometimes bowed-saw vox rolled out, twisting through the genre rooms on each floor. I immediately bought that strange little tape, and copied lyrics from it to the backs of postcards. A few months later, I was in Austin. With those keening hiccups along for the ride in my head.
I remember getting the same feeling from Mary Margaret’s voice that I got discovering Kate Bush.

PS she’s Catherine O’Hara’s sister. Did not know that till today.

Published in: on May 23, 2008 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Carrot Mob!

This is pretty whiz bang, folks. My new favorite thing.

Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Several Decades After 26 Exquisite Horrible Pages

‘s post today reminded me of Edward Gorey, which is extraordinary, because I’m sure I remember reading this book at the Jordan’s house in Dhaka. Being over 40 means that things are starting to creep into my life that I haven’t seen/done/read in, oh, 30 years or so. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is one such creepy. One of my favorite children’s stories that must never actually be read to children.

I thought you could die of that, but was never sure.

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Welcome to "Awesome Canadians Fridays"

In the years following high school, I saw Rush manymany times, including once where I made it to the Cap Center by walking backwards down the highway with a cardboard sign reading, “RUSH Concert.” 2 college kids in a Mercedes picked me up.

1st in the new Canadian series. You’re welcome.

Circa 1984, like you can’t tell. These 3 honest-to-God hung the moon for me.

Apparently on this tour (they came through Austin last week), South Park has a cameo. Hilarity. Getty’s outline can be seen wandering in front of the screen. Then the poor guy’s camera mic implodes.

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

John Mayer is Way Smarter and Funnier Than His Music

Three things first:
1) JJ Johnson ‘s been playing drums with Eli’s band since the mid-90s. I can’t remember half the nights, staring with red-eyed disbelief at his stamina and innovation.
2) Mayer wrote a column for Esquire (Music Lessons) that was always fun to read. Why he stopped, I dunno.
3) I don’t think all of John Mayer’s songs suck. “Belief” is a bit of masterful.

Makin’ Music with John Mayer on

Belief, from last year’s “Crossroads”

An even more sublime acoustic version (not a vid):

Published in: on May 8, 2008 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eat, Drink, and Be Murree

Beer Advocate pointed me to a mildly entertaining video on Murree beer, which triggered a limeflower-beer madeleine cascade of memories, throwing me back to high school, and Pakistan.

Indian subcontinent kids like us were limited to four K-12 schools for our parents to choose from (besides correspondence courses, which I actually took for half of 10th grade). The main one was AES, New Delhi (moi, class of ’84); Kodai Kanal, near Madras, to the south; Woodstock, in northern India; and Murree, in northwest Pakistan. Senior year, I was elected student council president, and was expected to attend an annual international school conference with other government geeks.

I actually wasn’t a government geek; I gave a speech that was merely better performed than my opponent’s (who was far better qualified – and whom I dated years later on-and-off in the States – digress much?). Anyhouse, that year it was in Murree, Pakistan’s version of Kodai.

Not to get all Wikipedia on you, BUT, when Her Majesty’s Army wrested control of Punjab from the Sikhs (while failing to occupy Afghanistan), they were garrisoned in Rawalpindi. Murree, at 2300 m, was an oasis from the heat and crowds 50 km to the south. British soldiers were partially paid in beer rations (since the water could kill you). The Murree Brewery Co. Ltd. has been malting, brewing and distilling since 1860. From what I can glean from their awesomely Pakistani web site, they’re mostly bland-looking light lagers, with “a distinctive test and flavor… Murree’s Classic Larger (is) Smooth on the plate… …corresponds in flour and quality to the famous beer brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

But one style sang out to me:
Murree’s Millennium
Our flagship beer 8% alc. v/v. Brewed from highest grade Australian malt and Hallertau a German Hop products. The millennium is celebration brew for special occasion.

Eight percent volume by volume? That’s pretty high octane, for an Islamic beverage. Then again, they keep going, distilling their beers into vodkas, whiskeys, rums, and gins. With strict Sharia prohibition on consumption, and a ban on all imports of alcohol, what would be Murree Brewery’s chief competitor? If the word “prohibition” gave you a hint, you guessed it: bootlegged and black market tharra.

Photos: Spiegel Online

From this NY Times article:
Alcohol was officially illegal but widely available in the years after independence, with doctors allowed to issue certificates asserting that their patients needed it for medical purposes. The 1979 prohibition is more strictly enforced, but it, too, is evaded. Many non-Muslims make a tidy profit by selling alcohol to their Muslim friends. It is sometimes said that the only people in Pakistan who do not know how to find liquor are foreign tourists. Murree has 350 full-time employees and another 125 or so who work part time. Some hide the truth about where they work. The American-trained quality-control manager, for example, tells friends that she works for a soft drink company.

Which reminds me: what’s the difference between a Baptist, a Lutheran, and a Catholic? Catholics don’t recognize Saint Luther; Lutherans don’t recognize the Pope; Baptists don’t recognize each other in the liquor store.

Chances are, I’ll probably never return to Murree, which was as consistently beautiful as any Asian hill station. I won’t get to drink the probably-not-delicious plate of floury larger with its distinctive test. Mais que recherche agreeable du temps perdu.

Murree, Pakistan

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Laura’s Movie – Its First Award So Far

Las Perdidas totally won a Remi Award at the WorldFest-Houston Independent International Film Festival. This is the event’s web site (it sucks).

This is the link to the movie’s site (sorry, Laura, I’m sure it was not your doing, but it also sucks [unlike your site, which is design-tastic], and is even broken in some places. I could do a better job with Notepad and a bellyful of mescal. Call me.)

Anyhowl, when she was in Austin last, I got a pre-screening from her laptop, and it’s gangbusters – I think it’s funny, inventive, taughtly-written, well-acted, with that early Linklater/Rodriguez indie feel. And if you have a little Spanish, it will be even funnier.

So, Lala yet again irrefutably rocks.

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment