Spiraling Toward Irrelevancy

Never has a blog title spoken quicker to the absolute truth than "Spiraling Toward Irrelevancy" ...


TGO Radio Election Night Live

What began in early August as a generic attempt to bring TGO Radio back to a computer near you has now morphed into a live, two-hour Election Night special, TGO Radio Election Night Life, which will broadcast through the Blog Talk Radio website starting at 9pm on Election Night, Tuesday, 04 November.

We only just decided to sally forth this last Wednesday, but so far we’re bringing in three television monitors (Fox, CNN, MSNBC), a spotter, a news girl; we’ll be taking listener phone calls, conducting interviews with correspondents in many of the various battleground States as well as other notable, election related guests. So on and so forth.

More details as they become relevant; but in the process of assembling the election guides we’ll be using that night, I have scribbled fervently upon both sides of several sheets of paper….


Mark Steyn Worked During His Summer Vacation.

... which is more than I can say for mine, which was spent chasing tail, sleeping, and refusing to write even a return address on any envelope.

Anyways. Here's a great paragraph from a Steyn column currently featured on his website:

They [the Clintons] won through the Nineties. The Clintons’ Democratic Party was great for the Clintons, lousy for the Democratic Party, which in the course of the decade lost Senate seats, House seats, Governors’ mansions, state legislatures and on and on, until, in a final snook cocked at his comrades, Bill Clinton was unable to bequeath the White House to his vice-president in a time of peace and prosperity – but his wife, campaigning for her first political office, managed to pick up a Senate seat in a state she’d barely spent 20 minutes in.


Music Review: Death Magnetic by Metallica

The first clue that Metallica had begun taking itself seriously again came when it announced Rick Rubin had been hired to produce its next album. In doing this it (finally) shunned bubble gum producer Bob Rock, whose ignominious claim to fame is sitting stoically as the greatest heavy metal band in the world recorded pop song after pop song, released horrific album after horrific album, was summarily surpassed by Pantera, then Slipknot, and finally by a wide variety of more thoughtful rock bands (e.g., Tool, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age). By the time it released the appalling St. Anger in June 2003, Metallica had relegated itself to a quivering, pointless mess.

But the thought of Rick Rubin sitting in on the recording sessions gave fans hope. In the liner notes for his album 12 Songs, Neil Diamond wrote that Rubin pushed him to write better songs, entering the studio only when the songs met his, meaning Rubin’s, exacting standards. For those who hoped Metallica would someday return to something resembling its former self, Rubin was looked upon as a savior. (Think Barack Obama, if he’d actually spent his entire career accomplishing meaningful things.)

The end result is Death Magnetic, the first indication since 1991 that the band also has some interest in reverting to its once great state of being. It doesn’t quite turn the corner, and likely can’t, but at least the effort if genuine.

First, the bad: Death Magnetic is an abject failure lyrically. “The Unforgiven III,” for example, is lyrically about as silly as man in his mid-forties should ever sound; same with “All Nightmare Long” and “The Day That Never Comes.” (Thankfully, “The Day That Never Comes” concludes with a scathing three minute jam, which is about as solid and interesting a piece of music as Metallica has ever recorded.)

Thanks to the weepy, therapy ridden, male PMS-infused documentary Some Kind of Monster, we know that for the album St. Anger, the band arrived at a sort of lyrics-by-committee set up, so everyone could feel they were actually contributing (or something). To the filmmaker’s credit, we see Kirk Hammett reading aloud his legitimately brilliant gift to what became the worst rock album of the decade so far (“My lifestyle / determines my death style”). Unknown whether this lyrical process remained in place for Death Magnetic, but if so, it deserves to be scrapped when, and if, it comes time to record another album.

At various points I found myself rolling my eyes and breathing irritated sighs – far too many of the lyrics read like bad poetry written by fifteen-year-olds. One hopes the band stumbles across some arcane socialist writer from the late nineteenth century, and starts ripping him off. (Say what you want about socialists: They’re wrong and frequently smell bad, but at least they’re interesting.)

Next, the good: Musically, Death Magnetic is the best album Metallica has recorded since its legendary 1988 album … And Justice for All. In fact, despite a ten minute instrumental and the majority of the songs clocking in at well over seven minutes, there were several times when I hoped James Hetfield would stop singing altogether, because he’s often stepping on the music.

All but “The Unforgiven III” are at least musically interesting, and in many cases provocative. When it comes to songs like “The Day That Never Comes” (the aforementioned three minute jam) and “All Nightmare Long,” the stellar quality of the music seems to erase almost entirely the terrible lyrics. Same with the first three tracks – “That Was Just Your Life,” “The End of the Line,” and “Broken Beat and Scarred,” which are merely mediocre lyrically.

I will back away from earlier private assertions that Death Magnetic could be the album of the year. Taken as a whole, it doesn’t come close enough to a sustained standard of excellence. But this album is the first must-own Metallica offering in two decades, and “The Judas Kiss” is a strong frontrunner for song of the year.

Incidentally: Yes, Rick Rubin saved Metallica.

Passable: “That Was Just Your Life” (track one); “The End of the Line” (track two); “Broken Beat and Scarred” (track three).

Not So Much: “All Nightmare Long” (track five) and “Cyanide” (track six).

Horrible: “The Unforgiven III” (track seven).

Horrible and Great: “The Day That Never Comes” (track four) – the first five minutes are godawful, the last three are genius.

Great: “The Judas Kiss” (track eight); “Suicide and Redemption” (track nine); “My Apocalypse” (track ten).


Save the House Where Superman Was Born

Link: Ordinary People Change the World, its partial purpose is to preserve the house in Cleveland, Ohio where Superman was created in 1932.

Quote: "The house where Google was created is saved. The farm where Hewlett Packard was founded is preserved. And Richard Nixon’s house is a museum. But the house where Superman — one of the world’s most recognized heroes — was created? It’s a wreck. So, with the creation of The Siegel & Shuster Society, we hope to raise enough money to repair the house and make sure it will be saved, restored, and there so you can take your kids one day."


TGO ♥ Sarah Palin / RNC Speech

Waiting for postable video of Governor Palin's convention speech, but in the meantime, here's Mark Steyn:

"Next to her [Palin's] resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of 'community organizer' and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy."

Updatesies; 7.47am EST: Governor Palin's speech, in full. * sigh * (Thanks C-Span.)

Another Update: Friday, 05 September @ 5.17am: Reuters reports that Governor Palin " ... nearly matched Barack Obama's record TV audience with her speech on Wednesday accepting the Republican nomination for vice president, topping 37 million U.S. viewers. The 38.4 million viewers averaged by Obama as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president Aug. 28 in Denver is the biggest commercial TV audience ever for a single night of a U.S. political convention." Et cetera.


Alaska: Rich in Oil and Natural Gas. Latex? Apparently, Not So Much

Column production has begun; this week's column is about half done. If I can ever bring it to a satisfactory intellectual conclusion, "The Other Palin Girl" (title is tentaive, about Bristol Palin) could be released here (and at the Dot Com) late Thursday night, rest of world Friday. Having some trouble cramming all the ideas into 650 words, which is (1) what I get for taking two-and-a-half months off to chase tail, and (2) why I say IF, but so far, so good.

Re: TGO Radio. Taping for this Friday is out; the date of the next test taping is in the air.

UPDATED Friday, 05 September @ 4.25am. I have absolutely lost interest in the column mentioned above; will try something else next week.

TGO Radio Production Notes (Part Three) / Columns

1) Clearly in need of some re-tooling, Jeff and I (minus show producer Doug Reacharound) took last week off from recording – meaning Wednesday, 27 August – to discuss tighter format ideas and a divvying up of research responsibilities. There was a lot of, “Well listen, man, if we’re going to do this, then we need to get serious about it and really do it for twelve weeks, not half-ass it.” And there was also a lot of, “We can absolutely do this and get an informative show out of it for twelve weeks at a time.”

Of course, all that dissolved into various other topics of discussion, absolutely none having to do with the radio show, and by the time I got around to telling about the time I saw a kid wipe out in front of Camp TGO a few summers ago, we were so completely off topic as to be hopeless. Finally, when we absolutely had no time left, we acted as though we were getting serious: I scribbled some things down (news and news analysis outlets I thought we needed to monitor for content), said to Jeff, “Okay, you do this, this, and this; and I’ll do this, this, and this.” I muttered something about taking care of the format.

The next test recording session was then scheduled for Tuesday (meaning yesterday), a day earlier than usual due to my having a very important previous commitment. (Okay, a local sports team is going to the playoffs, and I’m going to the opening game.) But last Friday morning I began losing my voice, wholly without the usual sickness or throat pain you would assume would accompany such a malady. It was so bad by Saturday morning that I feared a prolonged sickness of some sort.

I saw Jeff Saturday, in the midst of the mysterious ailment, and hardly any word of the show was spoken. Which was fine, because we had episodes of American Dad! to watch. As the new week dawned my voice regained strength, leading to the question Tuesday of whether we were going to record. Neither of us were prepared. I vetoed recording with no other comment, thinking maybe we could do it later this week, if not next Wednesday.

I can tell you that what little patience and faith I had for this project is just about spent. No one is at fault, we’re just not finding our stride. Two more test shows at an absolute maximum, and if we can’t find our footing, I’ll give TGO Radio its third Viking funeral.

2) Following "summer vacation," column production could begin anew this week.


Alan Colmes: Keeping it Classy

Here is a link to an archived blog posting by Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, in which he offhandedly suggests that Governor Palin brought DS onto hers and Mr. Palin's fifth child, because she didn't go to the hospital immediately after her water broke.

Finally, a liberal finds an unborn child he cares about.

This post is archived, by the way, because after 300 or so replies calling him everything but a white man, and pointing out the frightening flaws in the suggestion, Colmes had the good sense to realize he'd made extraordinary errors in judgment and logic. Some of the replies are worth the trip.

Should this post for some reason become unavailable, email me here, and I'll send the entire page to you.