Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Helps You Maintain Your Pump At The Gym

I saw a guy at the gym tonight wearing an "Arnie is Numero Uno" t-shirt. It was a t-shirt that had no weak points. Maybe it had weak points three years ago, but the main thing in its mind - its goal always was - to even everything out to the point . . . that everything is perfect.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Go-Betweens

The Australian band The Go-Betweens came up in conversation the other day, probably for the first time since college, when their comeback album The Friends of Rachel Worth was released to critical acclaim. They were always pretty obscure in this country - they received extensive airplay on college radio in the 1980's, alongside The Smiths et al, but never broke into the mainstream in any significant way. In fact, I'm only familiar with them because some of the Canadian indie stations I used to listen to back at home would occasionally play their stuff.

Motivated by that conversation and curious to get my hands on a cd of theirs, I stopped by Music Matters, an excellent hole-in-the-wall record store on 7th Avenue and 13th Street in Park Slope. If any record store in New York would stock music by an obscure foreign group that only got airplay on college radio twenty years ago, it would likely be Music Matters, tucked away as it is in a neighborhood of young professionals, indie artists and thirty-something hipsters. When I told the proprietor that I was looking for The Go-Betweens, his eyes lit up, and he said that he used to play their album 16 Lover's Lane in his store every Sunday, and customers asked about it all of the time. Then the album went out of print a couple of years ago, and he had to stop playing it in the store, because he was tired of disappointing customers by telling them that the music he was playing over his speakers wasn't available for sale. He suggested Amazon.com, which does in fact carry The Friends of Rachel Worth, for the import-tastic price of $50.99. I've never bought anything but singles off of iTunes, but their $9.90 price was just too good to pass up, so I pulled the trigger. Its really, really good - keep an eye open for their stuff the next time you're in a used record store.

Sadly, no songs off of that album are up on YouTube, but here are a couple of tracks of their earlier albums. Check it out:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud Here

The Regent Music Group is pulling the music video for "Apache" off of YouTube, on the grounds that the members who posted the video on YouTube's site violated their copyright. Technically, or course, they are correct, but, really, Tommy Seebach is dead, and Apache is a terrible disco song that was released in Denmark more than thirty years ago, and the only reason anybody under the age of 45 has heard of it is because its music video has become somewhat of a camp classic on the internet. Take a look at this video and then tell me what damages the Regent Music Group could realistically have suffered by having had its intellectual property loaded onto the internet without its permission:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Here's the trailer:

Here's the movie poster:

Color me stoked.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Sneakers?

Those of you who know me know that I do not have what you would call an elegant running stride, and I rarely run for fun or for exercise - I prefer rowing, or team sports like basketball and softball. Even so, I love the feel of a new set of running shoes - its almost as if its hard to walk in them; their feel just makes me want to break out into a run.

My latest set of New Balaces came with a set of beaded cotton laces. The bumps in the laces prevent the loosening of the laces that is routinely caused by way that the shoe flexes as you run. Is it me, or is this one of those intuitively obvious ideas - like the Post-It note - that you could kick yourself for not having thought up years ago?

Missing Conan O'Brien

I miss Conan O'Brien. His Late Nite show was a staple for me throughout college and law school, and though I had to stop watching regularly when I began working full-time, YouTube and Hulu ensured that he was still a part of my daily routine. Jimmy Fallon's show is still finding its footing (I don't want to dismiss it out of hand, since Conan struggled early on as well), and, since I don't get cable, nothing has stepped up to fill that late night void.

Conan with Will Arnett:

Conan with Patton Oswalt:

Conan with Louis C.K.: Embedding disabled by request, click here to see the video.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Netflix

I signed up for Netflix today. For the first time. Hey, you're talking to a guy who didn't get a cell phone until 2003 or an iPod until 2005, so I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of technology.

As those of you who subscribe to Netflix know, the are several different subscription plans. The one I signed up for allows you to rent one movie at a time, with unlimited monthly rentals, and costs $8.99 per month. The far more popular option allows you to rent two movies at a time and costs $13.99 per month, which admittedly is a slightly better price-per-rented dvd.

Once you allow for the time it takes the dvds to travel by mail, I'm guessing that I could watch seven or eight movies a month on my current plan. If I had signed up for the two-discs-at-a-time plan, I could watch perhaps 15-20 movies a month (because I could always have one at home while the other was in transit). Still, in my pre-Netflix existence I watch at most two or three dvds per month, so my current plan seems generous.

How many individuals watch so many dvds that they can't be satisfied with the one-disc-at-a-time plan? Is this the cinematic equivalent of the way that soda companies now sell soft drinks in those plastic 16 ounce bottles for $1.25 instead of in 12 ounce cans for $1.00? Its a better price-per-ounce for the consumer, but does anybody really need those extra four ounces? Before they popularized the 16 ounce bottle, were people unsatisfied with their 12 ounce cans? Probably not.

I'm rambling now. It just seems kind of ridiculous to me that there are people out there who can watch more than 10 movies a month and still work a full-time job, even if watching movies is their favorite pastime.

For the record, my first queue includes the following: WALL-E, Gone Baby Gone, Rachel Getting Married, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, The Fog of War, Brokeback Mountain, Season 4 of The Wire (discs 3 and 4), and the BBC mini-series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (starring Alec Guiness and based on the John Le Carre novel of the same name.)

Blackalicious Will Make You Feel That Way

I may be a little late to the party on this one, but its been a long time since a hip-hop song's made me feel that way.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Yet Another Reason Why the NCAA Tournament Sucks

All you need to know about why the NCAA Tournament sucks is that, with 5.5 seconds left in a tied Marquette-Missouri game last night, a Missouri player was fouled and went to the foul line to take two free throws. CBS cut to a baseline camera, to have a better angle on the player while he took his shots. In the background, on the opposite baseline, an entire section of fans was standing up and waving both arms with "hey America, I'm on television!!!!!!!1" expressions on their faces. That's right - with five seconds left in a tied game in a sporting event which people sentimentalize to a degree far beyond any other, a group of assholes were not paying attention to the game because they were trying to get on camera for two or three seconds.

This is the reason I don't particularly care for the NCAA tournament, especially its early rounds. Games are played in neutral locations, in front of crowds consisting mainly of corporate executives and well-connected locals, while few seats are reserved for fans from the universities that are actually participating, and those seats are always - always - in the upper levels. Trust me, early-round NCAA games are often held in Buffalo, and Jake and I have attended, and they're fucking dead. Fans of the NCAA Tournament often cite early-round upsets as being one of the best things about the tournament, but they always follow the same pattern - a lower-seeded team slows the game down to an agonizingly boring pace, takes a bunch of 3-point shots, and hopes to get hot in the first half, thereby winning the neutral location crowd - which doesn't care about either team but who want to be able to tell their friends that they saw a great upset in person - over to their side. People claim to like the NCAA Tournament because the upsets make it unpredictable, but really, what's less predictable than the pattern that every big upset follows? Furthermore, what makes the NCAA Tournament different than, say, the NBA playoffs, where #1 seeds (the '07 Mavericks) can lose in the first round and #8 seeds (the 1999 New York Knicks) make the finals? As always in basketball, the games are about match-ups - basketball is essentially a big game of 'rock, paper, scissors.' Sometimes a worse team matches up particularly well with a team that is far superior all around team and beats them. If you keep expanding a single-elimination tournament (it has gone from 16 to 32 to 64) for long enough, you're going to get a lot of upsets. And you should learn to get over them.

A Large Helping of New Jersey

Jon Stewart interviews Bruce Springsteen on The Daily Show. Sometimes I miss living in an apartment with cable.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Bruce Springsteen - Interview
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bob Dylan Chronicles: Volume One

I'm reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Volume One right now, and its wonderful. Its just about the perfect subway book - interesting, quickly paced, and broken down into a series of colorful, easily digestible vignettes and anecdotes. Its sort of . . . bloggy. Chronicles: Volume One is not anywhere near authoritative enough to be considered an autobiography, and its narrative jumps around too much and isn't linear enough to even be considered a memoir. It is best read as a collection of stories from his life that illustrate his change from the confident-but-naive Robert Zimmerman to the celebrity and rock star known to us as Bob Dylan. He spends ample space discussing the songs he loved, the books that influenced his writing style, the people he met, and the singers he looked up to. It gives the reader an insight into what Greenwich Village looked like in Mad Men-era New York, and what the music business looked like in the post-Elvis, pre-British invasion no man's land of the early 1960's.

Some paragraphs read like Dylan lyrics in paragraph form. Consider the description of Izzy Young, the proprietor of The Folklore Center, a periodical that covered folk music:

"Young was an old-line folk enthusiast, very sardonic and wore heavy horn-rimmed glasses, spoke in a thick Brooklyn dialect, wore wool slacks, skinny belt and work boots, tie at a careless slant. his voice was like a bulldozer and always seemed too loud for the little room. Izzy was always a little rattled over something or other. He was sloppily good natured. In reality, a romantic. To him, folk music glittered like a mound of gold. It did for me, too . . . I couldn't imagine what Izzy's battles were. Internal, external, who knows? Young was a man that concerned himself with social injustice, hunger and homelessness and he didn't mind telling you so. His heroes were Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Moby-Dick, the ultimate fish story, was his favorite tale."

And who wouldn't enjoy this description of Chloe Carter - June Carter Cash's cousin:

"She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper - always hit the nail on the head. I don't know how much weed she smoked, but a lot. She also had her own ideas about the nature of things, told me that death was an impersonator, that birth is an invasion of privacy."

Paragraphs like these show that Bob Dylan wrote this book himself - who else could write like that? Its a remarkable book, written in a remarkable voice - and one of the best books about music I've ever read.

Vampire Weekend's New Song

From their unreleased, as-yet-unreleased album:

Sad, Broke and Lonely

I saw a comedy show in Greenpoint last night called "Sad, Broke and Lonely." It featured Rob Cantrell, who was funny, was hosted by Joe Mande, who was funnier, and featured a surprise, unadvertised appearance by Zach Galifianakis, who is one of the funniest comedians working right now. Combine that group of comedians, with bottomless Dewar's whiskey on the house and the lack of a cover charge and its safe to say that it was the most fun I've had on a Thursday night in quite some time.

Galifianakis killed, but one one-liner of his caught me so totally surprise that I snarfed whiskey on the lady friend who accompanied me to the show. Galifianakis was telling a story about how he and Louis C.K. recently attended the Bonaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee. When he said "Tennessee," some guy in the back of the room let out a whoop, to which Galifianakis replied "Easy, dude, you're not at Madea Goes to Jail." The funniest thing he could have said.

A brief word about the neighborhood of Greenpoint: it is very cool. Imagine what Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens looked like ten years ago, before Williamsburg was full of hipsters with ironic mustaches and Carroll Gardens was full of yuppies like myself. Manhattan Avenue has diverse architecture and wonderful mom and pop-owned restaurants, bakeries, and independent non-chain appliance/hardware/clothing/sporting goods stores. Many of the signs are in both Polish and English, and the neighborhood is dotted with beautifully preserved churches, most of which are Catholic. Its what you imagined Brooklyn to look like before you moved to Brooklyn - the sort of working class neighborhood of which Brooklyn used to almost entirely consist. Its worth it to spend a couple of hours wandering around there, assuming, of course, that you can get there - as the best access is offered by the G train, which, for you non-New Yorkers out there, is basically the New York metropolitan transit authority's equivalent of The Flying Dutchmen - obscure, rarely seen, doomed to ride the New York City subway rails for the rest of eternity, never to return home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Irrational Anger

Target must have a lot of unsold Garden State dvds on its hands, because it is selling them in 2-packs, packaged with either Say Anything or The Graduate. It makes me irrationally angry to see two of my favorite movies packaged with Garden State in this way; Garden State is beneath them.

I'm on the record and being somewhat of a Garden State hater. While a lot of my friends saw it as our generation's answer to those classic movies, I saw it as a trite, shamefully derivative, and overly precious, not to mention that it helped to popularize The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the type of gorgeous, free-spirited, ready-willing-and-available young woman that, in the words of Onion A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin, "exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." To be certain, it has a lot of funny scenes, but it goes off the rails whenever it tries to be serious, which is way too often. I can imagine meeting all of the characters from Say Anything, but I can't imagine meeting anybody from Garden State in real life - can you? I suspect that a lot of people now in their twenties will look back on it fondly as a coming-of-age movie, in the way that Baby Boomers think of The Graduate, or that Generation Xers see Say Anything, but I would ask them, was the movie really that affecting, or were you just caught up in the soundtrack and Natalie Portman's gorgeous . . . everything?

Changing gears a little, I was in the checkout line at Target when I saw that the cover of the latest issue of Cosmopolitan promises a sexual move that will "light a bonfire in his pants . . . and in his heart." Really? A bonfire in his pants? Is that the best you can do? Does Cosmopolitan even employ professional writers anymore? I know it doesn't attempt to compete with The New Yorker or The Economist, but surely they can do a little better than that. Does anybody else believe that women's magazines secretly exist to make white women feel bad about themselves, so that they'll buy more makeup and, well, women's magazines to make themselves feel better? Think about it - every issue is about how to lose weight (because you're too fat), sex tips (because you're lousy in bed) and heavily airbrushed photographs of models and actresses. Airbrushed, of course, so that the readers will find themselves to be lacking when they compare themselves to the photographs they see in Cosmopolitan, so they'll buy more issues of Cosmopolitan to learn more fitness tips. I just don't get it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rock Out Like Its 2004

Have you ever heard gone a couple of years without hearing a song, then, when you finally hear it again, its as if you heard it again for the first time, and you remember how much you enjoyed it when it was first popular? I found these songs today on an old mix cd from a couple of years ago, and realized it had been far too long since I last played them.

1) Velvet Revolver - Fall To Pieces

2) Pilate - Into Your Hideout

Thursday, March 12, 2009

campesino/hombre de negocio

community garden:
I learned last weekend that my community garden is directly across the street from a division headquarters of WR Grace. Yeah, like the company featured in "a Civil Action." It turns out that the whole region including the athletic stadium and the HQ is contaminated with asbestos and hazardous waste. Who knew? Someone I managed not to hear about any of this. frankly, it's a little scary. but thankfully after some research, it turns out that you can really only get harmed by air-borne asbestos, there probably aren't any organic contaminants (you can smell them), and any heavy metal contamination would be detectable by the $9 soil test offered by UMass. and any contaminants would be buried way below the 6-8 inches vegetables consume. so that means i can have my vegetables afterall--as long as Don Gately and his paraphrenalia stay the hell out of my garden.

backyard garden:
upstairs owner says he wants to roto-till 40% of his backyard to create a 20'x20' garden. but he has never grown veggies before. so we get lots of it. but I assume he will want our overflow. we are officially yuppie sharecroppers. our primary garden pests will be a 1, 3, and 6 year old.

we separated the compost out for 'curing.' that means that we took the stuff that is almost dirt away from the stuff that is still clearly carrot peel and coffee filter. the almost dirt can then turn into dirt wihtout getting mixed up with new, un-broken-down food. i am really excited for my DIY dirt.

oh, and my company has just announced furloughs--so we might just need that victory garden.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scattered Thoughts on Television

1) Andy Samberg isn't funny on a regular basis. Once a year he hits a video short out of the park. Otherwise, he's just not funny. His appearance as the cartoon character Kathy was supposed to satirize how unfunny the comic strip can be, instead, it just highlighted how unfunny Andy Samberg can be.

2) Also, Saturday Night Live has to stop using Justin Timberlake as a guest star if they want the episodes he hosts to have any bite. He's hilarious, but NBC has a habit of killing off its hilarious supporting characters through overuse (Newman, George's Dad, Kenneth the Page, etc) and I'm afraid that's happening with Timberlake and SNL.

3) Everything I just wrote is taken back of Timberlake's frequent turns on SNL mean more appearances of Jessica Biel dressed as Jessica Rabbit.

4) I'd like to thank Jake Taylor for calling my attention to the highlights of Sunday's game between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, in which Dwyane Wade had 48 points, 12 assists, a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, and a steal/1-on-3 fast break/running three pointer to win the game at the end of double-overtime. To quote Jake "I've never seen anything like it. I've never even heard of anything like it."

5) The Bachelor is a terrible show, and reality television is killing our culture. There, I said it. Sorry, roommates.

6) 30 Rock's been great this season, but what is the best season of 30 Rock? The second half of the first season is just about as funny as television ever got, but season 2 was more consistently funny. This season has been great, but Paul and I worry that the show is catering more and more to east coast yuppies - its almost as if NBC has resigned itself to the show's mediocre ratings and so is redoubling its efforts to become the water-cooler show for young big-city professionals, even if it means filling the shows with references that nobody else gets.

7) Does anybody watch The Office anymore? Its still funny, but it seems to have lost its buzz - you don't hear people talking about it anymore. Or is it just me?

Monday, March 9, 2009

BVB's Top Ten

CSD headquarters gently suggested that I contribute one of these, so here goes. One of my "study" playlists skewed my play counts a bit, but I stand by each one of these tracks.

1. Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

Even still, I cannot play this song less than three times in a row. Double-tracked tambourine is the cat's pajamas.

2. Kings of Leon - Ragoo

You wouldn't be wrong to dislike this band, especially given the egregious sell-out, mediocre, Bon Jovi-aping fourth album. Even so, Because of the Times is a tour de force, and this is the best of the bunch.

3. Nightmares on Wax - "Les Nuits"

Just let it play; it's got a narcotic effect. But keep an ear peeled for the Pharcyde sample.

4. The Rapture - Whoo! Alright-Yeah . . . Uh Huh

I'm still not clear on how this song failed to make the Rapture more of a mainstream success.

(By the way, in digging up YouTube links for this post, I encountered a number of "fan-made" videos. WTF are these things? In this one, it looks like some teenagers got a sixer of Jolt cola and decided to film it. To be fair, if I were fifteen and had access to YouTube, I worry that I might have made one of these.)

5. Underworld - Twist

I am not on drugs, I swear. This song gets more cacophonous (Is that a word?) as it progresses, and the bassline is just goofy.

6. Groove Armada - Lovebox

3:30 into it still makes me stop whatever it is I'm doing.

7. The Beta Band - Lion Thief

I really miss this band.

The song starts at about a minute and a half in. It has a lot to do with the lyrics of the song . . . I mean . . .

8. The Strokes - You Only Live Once

Average band, excellent song.

9. Radiohead - 15 Step

Kind of rips off M.IA., doesn't it?

10. Orbital - Halcyon (Live)

I feel the same way about this song as I do with The Wire - I am jealous of people who still get to experience hearing/seeing it for the first time. My sister brought me this on her discman and handed me her headphones; I hated, hated, electronic music, but this was the track that changed all of that. The samples at the halfway point are still as hilarious/effective/mind-boggling as the first time I heard it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Roundball Rock

This video is well worth four minutes of your time:

Normally, I would call this "unintentional comedy," but the bemused, knowing smile Tesh wears as he "air dribbles" before the song suggests that he must, on some level, understand how ridiculous it is to play television theme songs to a theater of adoring fans while wearing a bad goatee and Seigfried & Roy costume. Then again . . . there's a disturbing lack of ironic distance on display during the startlingly homoerotic 'battle' between the guitarist who looks like Van Halen's bass player and a violin player dressed like Captain Crunch. With a video like this, there are plenty of jokes to go around.

occupational (bio)hazards

discovered in my community garden plot this afternoon during my first spring visit:
2 hypodermic needles.

Friday, March 6, 2009

gruffle up some domino's

I am in need of emergency homeboys.

viva achewood.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Ten Most Played Songs In My iTunes

What are your ten most-played songs on iTunes, and why? If you take the time to think about it, its an interesting little question.

Albums you play all of the way through on compact disc won't have as many plays on your iTunes as the singles and one-hit wonders you've ordered from iTunes. Nor will songs that you most frequently play on your iPod - for instance, everybody has a couple of songs you play while you work out, or on long roadtrips, and so your iTunes would understate the total number of times you hear those songs. For those reasons, iTunes is not a perfectly representative sample of one's taste in music, but its pretty close.

Having made those disclaimers, here is my list. As always, your comments are welcome:

1) Letter From An Occupant - The New Pornographers
This song ranks #1 on my list for the simple reason that, once it gets stuck in your head, its not going to leave for a long time.

2) Babylon II - David Gray
Go ahead and make your David Gray jokes. But when we're in our early 40s and at our 20-year college reunion, and people realize that all we listened to in college was Limp Bizkit, Blink-182, Eminem, Shaggy, Kid Rock, N*SYNC and Britney Spears, and songs like 'Who Let the Dogs Out' and 'The Bad Touch' were actually popular," and that other than Radiohead David Gray is the one singer who was popular when we were in college whose music still holds up, then you'll get it. Babylon II is one of the few songs that came out while I was in college that brings back legitimately fond memories of those years.

3) Apartment Story - The National
These next two are just great tracks by a great band, whose most mellow album just happened to come out when I was studying for the bar exam and needed solid background music.
Also, I just love this video - its production values are cinema-worthy, and the shot of the entire band playing actual instruments together on stage hearkens back to the good old days when musicianship was a cherished characteristic for a band to have.

4) Mistaken For Strangers - The National
The National is well-loved for the way it delicately balances light and dark. "Apartment Story" is the light; "Mistaken For Strangers" is the dark.

5) Please Forgive Me - David Gray
See above. I'm a David Gray fan. I celebrate his entire catalogue.

6) The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
This song - for that matter, this entire album - got stuck in my head just as Arcade Fire's "Funeral" was on its way out. This is a great song. Funeral is the better album, because it has more songs that make it to this level, but The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth belongs in the big leagues - its like a long-lost Talking Heads track, but less self-important.

7) In the Sun - Michael Stipe and Chris Martin
By far the best of the Hurricane Katrina fundraising songs . . . Stipe and Martin are great singers who, I believe, are too often unfairly maligned by hipster music snobs in the Pitchfork orbit, and on on this one-off they sound better than they do on anything they've done with their 'dayjob' bands in the past few years.
8) Sing Me Spanish Techno - The New Pornographers
Another catchy New Pornographers song whose lyrical nonsensicality fails to diminish its awesomeness.

9) Portions For Foxes - Rilo Kiley
How many songs make a genuine, delicate emotional point while legitimately kicking ass? This is one of them.

10) This Modern Love - Bloc Party

Near misses: New Order's True Faith, Gnarls Barkley's Smiley Faces, Interpol's Evil, and most of U2's Achtung Baby and How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Its On Like Donkey Kong

So haters to the left! My colleague Mr. Smecker found this video about two weeks ago.

We all remember what it means to serve someone, right? You kind of dance . . . at them.

This Conversation Actually Happened

Last night, two of my roommates watched a bunch of episodes of the Bachelor. Don't judge me for living with women, our apartment is very clean. Anyway, after about half an hour they got tired of hearing my sharp exhalations and sarcastic laughter, and told me that my behavior was ruining their enjoyment of the show.

At this point, I pointed out that they were being hypocritical, as all they do when they watch the show is make bitchy comments about the assholes who pretend to fall in love on reality television, to which they replied that it was okay for them to make bitchy comments, because they actually watch the show. So its like a Jewish person making Jewish jokes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Burning Questions and Other Monday Afternoon Stuff

1) A friend of mine is a librarian, and owns a t-shirt which reads "Archivists Make It Last Longer." I think we can agree that it is a pretty awesome slogan to have on a t-shirt. Question: Would that t-shirt be funnier on a guy, or on a girl?

2) Men carrying canvas tote bags: Is it hip, or just really gay?

3) A bakery that sells only muffins: A charming, only in Brooklyn sort of thing? Or annoyingly twee?

4) One of my roommates is home from work today because her employer is having a "snow day." Her employer is not a school. What do you think of this? Are we all in the wrong line of work?

5) I'd like to say to all of the haters who are going to dump all over the new U2 album without having heard it, because U2 is too mainstream, or because "all of their songs sound the same," or because "Bono needs to shut his mouth," or because "they're an easy band for people who don't know a lot about music to like," this is what I have to say to you.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to dislike U2 - for instance, if you legitimately dislike their music - but a substantial number of people my age and younger irrationally hate U2 because, let's face it, because they're very popular. They've been very popular for a very long time, and music snobs hate the idea that a band that's been popular in the mainstream for twenty-five years could actually be good, because if they admit that some mainstream bands could be good, they they would concede that they and their music-snob friends don't have a monopoly on good musical taste. And that really, really pisses them off. So they hate U2, they hate Coldplay, they hate the Strokes, you name it. Everybody knows some people like this. The Hulk knows what to tell them to do.

Therefore, ye soft pipes, play on!

My crush on Tina Fey is rivaled only by my man-crush on Alec Baldwin. Watching the "Rosemary's Baby" episode of 30 Rock, I came to the scene where Tracy Morgan's character goes to see a psychiatrist, and needs Alec Baldwin to help him role play a a conversation with his father. Baldwin asks Morgan what his father sounds like, and Morgan tells him that his father was "from funky north Philly, and he had a droopy lip due to an unattended root canal."

In response, Alec Baldwin said six words that sent a chill up my spine the likes of which I haven't felt since Fred Smerlas blocked a field goal to send the Buffalo Bills to the 1988 NFL playoffs. And those six words were: "I think I can do this"

I sat up straight on my couch, tense with anticipation, expecting Baldwin's impersonation of Tracy Morgan's deadbeat dad to be hilarious, but also, on some level, disappointing. If I've learned one thing from reading Keats, its that:
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter, therefore, ye soft pipes, play on.

U2's new album, no matter how great, probably isn't going to live up to my expectations. The new Watchmen movie, no matter how bad-ass, is probably going to disappoint my expectations. But that's what makes Alec Baldwin Alec Baldwin - the scene that followed blew away my wildest expectations; I still laugh out loud every time I think about it. Here's why:

Oh, and the rest of the episode was pretty great, too. Rumors are that 30 Rock is going to get canceled after this season, when it will no doubt be replaced by some terribly 'reality' show, with a title like Milf Island. But come what may, we will always have the first three seasons of 30 Rock. They cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt we love, and Liz Lemon be fair!