Now that would be a show

Tony reminds me that last night was the induction of the first New Wave class into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Meaning the Clash, the Police, and Elvis Costello. Damn. Oh, yeah, and AC/DC.

Anyway, Elvis Costello and me you know about. Except, like anything else, there’s always more to the story. I had never heard of Elvis Costello until “Veronica.” Sad, I know. But I absorbed Spike through my pores, even “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror.” Then Mighty Like a Rose came along and I slowly got disenchanted. Then The Juliet Letters and I fell back in love. Then Brutal Youth and… well, you get the picture.

The Police? Entirely different story. Synchronicity was one of the first rock albums I ever heard, thanks to a babysitter and my parents’ old turntable. That, and the fact that if you left your house and rode in the car of someone who listened to rock instead of classical, you couldn’t escape “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain,” or “Wrapped Around Your Finger.” I learned the lyrics, I learned to sing like Sting. I went on to dig into the Police’s back catalog with Rob, learning about the oddities and the brilliance on Outlandos D’Amore and Zenyatta Mondatta. It was a musical formative event that wouldn’t be equalled until I discovered Nirvana, then Parliament, taking me away from the arch writing of Sting into anarchy and funk.

But I never really left. How could I? Singing like Sting was the first public (non-choral) singing I did. Scenario: talent show at the summer Governor’s School for Science, after my junior year of high school. Sting’s “Sister Moon” from …Nothing Like the Sun. I pull together a guitarist and saxophonist for a jazz trio, but they can’t make it to the rehearsal. An empty auditorium except for the counselor in charge of the talent show…and two attractive girls, talking to each other, who hadn’t been giving me the time of day, and whom I had written off totally. So I put the tape on quietly, grab the mic, and start singing. Nervous because I don’t know how to sing with a mic, until I look up during the second verse and see two attractive mouths hanging open staring at me listening.

After that it was all downhill. The violin had already gone; the piano went soon after. If I could have that effect with an instrument I had with me all the time, why bother with anything else?

Thanks, Sting, for immeasurably improving my social life.

And thanks, Rob, for enriching my back catalog.

Now playing

Currently playing song: “In A World Gone Mad…” by Beastie Boys on Yeah, you read that right. Free Beasties download. New antiwar song. A few choice rhymes:

Mirrors, smoke screens, and lies
It’s not the politicians but their actions I despise…

As you build more bombs, as you get more gold
As your midlife crisis war unfolds
All you wanna do is take control
Put the Axis of Evil bullshit on hold

Citizens rule number 2080
Politicians are shady…

Well I’ll be sleepin’ on the speeches till I start to snore
Cause I won’t carry coal for an oil war…

Now don’t get us wrong cause we love America
But that’s no reason to get hysterica
They’re layin’ on the syrup thick
We ain’t waffles we ain’t havin’ it


Lisa doesn’t come back from Boulder until about 9 tonight, so I was taking dinner solo. So I improvised. Sauteed onions in butter and olive oil; added broccoli florets, lima beans, and a pinch of salt. Added a splash more olive oil and two cups of arborio. Started stirring in the obligatory chicken broth a half cup at a time. About ten minutes in, added cubed chicken thigh meat, and at the same time started browning larger thigh chunks in a separate pan. Five minutes later: about 3/4 cup white Bordeaux. More broth. Lemon zest. Then, off the heat, stir in a touch more butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and top with the browned chicken breasts.

What is it about cooking that makes me feel so competent? I guess it’s the eating.

Lundy update: Hail to the Chief

The Cavalier Daily reports that Daisy Lundy’s opponent in the race for University of Virginia Student Council President has withdrawn, conceding the election to her. The Daily Progress notes that the FBI investigation into the attack on Lundy continues. So no closure in this ugly chapter of the University’s history, nor is there likely to be for some time until all people of all races feel that the University and its community is a safe and fair place for them.

Joe Gross on Godspeed

If ever there was someone who should be paid to write about music, it’s Joe Gross. Thank God the Austin American-Statesman had the good sense to employ him. This week he writes about everyone’s favorite leftist band that no one knows, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and finds them “calcified” but still full of promise:

…At the center of all this despair there remains unexploded faith, however overwrought and pretentious. As the sleeve puts it, “hope still, a little resistance always maybe stubborn tiny lights vs. clustering darkness foreverok?” Their ambitions are vast, their music even more so and, to paraphrase Bruce Cockburn, Godspeed seem determined to drone into the darkness till it bleeds daylight.

—Of course, all this reminds me of two things:

  • I need to write about some more music.
  • I need to go listen to “Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” again.

Esta: “I got in”

Big huge congrats to Esta are due:

…no sweat on the admissions. You’re in as of yesterday afternoon. A letter goes in the mail today.

My sister, the seminarian. I’m so proud (sniff).

It’s worth noting, now that we can’t jinx the admission, that she’s continuing in a long tradition of ministry on my mom’s side that goes at least as far back as Benedictus Brackbill, who was born in 1665. No pressure, kid. 🙂