Pitchforkin’ III

As I mentioned two days ago, I was privileged enough to win a 3-day pass to Pitchfork Music Festival. This will be my third straight year at the fest. I’m not guaranteeing I’ll see everything, obviously, but I’ll be reporting back on the acts that I particularly enjoyed over the weekend. Please feel free to leave comments and I’ll try to get back as soon as internet access allows.

Until then, enjoy this picture snapped of Sonic Youth during their “Don’t Look Back” peformance of Daydream Nation, on July 13, 2007.

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Blago-ing My Thoughts…

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The 2008 election kind of turned me into a news site junkie. I’d followed news pretty closely anyways, but it kind of activated my politics gland a bit more than I expected. I’ve been using Google Reader to aggregate all of these new sites for me. I probably have about a dozen or so news sources I like to pull from at any time. My philosophy is to pull from as many sources from as many leanings as you can, and then kind of make your own interpretation of what you’re getting from the news. Anything less than that, you’re probably not very well informed.

Going through my sites today, I found a rather alarming post on Huffington Post, or the site founded by columnist and author (also onetime California governor recall candidate) Arianna Huffington.

Here’s the headline to the post Blagojevich Compares Himself To Mandela, King, Gandhi.

Un. Fucking. Real.

I’m a born and bred Illinois resident. I’ve always been proud of my state, sort of that underdog little brother to the big coastal cities of New York and Los Angeles. I’ve always felt that any attention we’ve gotten as a state (or the city of Chicago) is because we’ve had to fight for scraps. That’s partially what made it so much more exciting when Barack Obama ran for president. He was our guy. Who lived in our state The big bright spot in the middle of all of this, well, shit.

Illinois politics, particularly the governorship is an embarrassment to this state, and makes us look like shitheads to the rest of this world. Four of the past eight governors in the state have either been indicted or convicted of felonies. Fucking preposterous. What’s worse? it’s happened to the last two. In a row.

As we’ve already had to suffer through the trial of George Ryan, we are thrown back into another scandal have to deal with this awful-coiffed egomaniac who’s comparing himself to the great leaders of the world. He tried to sell a Senate seat among whatever else he’s been scheming to do for the past six years.

Tomorrow, his senate trial begins. I hope he’s convicted and they throw him out of office. Give Lt. Governor Pat Quinn a shot at this state. He doesn’t even get along with the guy. Blago hasn’t spoken to him since the summer of 2007.

Rod Blagojevich says that this whole debacle makes him a victim “in a plot to raise taxes.” He’s making analogies to Western movies about himself being a cowboy and ‘being hanged’. He’s going on TV shows like “The View” and “Larry King Live” to ‘defend himself’.

Bad idea dude. That’s not helping your cause at all. You’re just providing little nuggets of pop culture to remember you by. If you were sane, and the least bit coherent, you’d quietly slip away and let the state of Illinois get on with our business, instead of putting everyone through this costly trial.

I’m hoping Illinois can rebuild it’s reputation. Even if Rod’s ousted, we have a long way to go.

Let’s just get the ball rolling.

P.S. Watch this classic clip. Douche.

Excessive Dictionary Usage

1. Still can’t believe we have a new president. I suppose the first real transition I was conscious for was Clinton to GWB. It’s kind of weird that we keep on progressing like this. This is the fifth president in my lifetime, already. Craziness. Okay. No more of that.

2. @John_Agnello suggested I write about my irrational fear of peanut butter. I don’t have an irrational fear of peanut butter.

3. Also – John_Agnello @obviate “WTF, where’s my peanut butter cups, Brendan!!!” Completely random.

4. Tomorrow night is Animal Collective at Metro. I’m really excited. Talk about seeing a band at the height of their powers. These guys are EVERYWHERE lately, and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to get to their gig. I have some serious anticipation for this gig. My camera’s broke and being repaired, but I’ll try to take what I can with ye olde iPhone.

5. Went to lunch with my good friend Jordan De Shon today. We remarked that 2009 is a painfully bad year for big movie releases. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as well as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (atrocious movie title, btw) looks to be the only semi-decent big ticket flicks coming out for the summer. I sincerely hope Hopefully Pixar continues their streak with Up. If anything, the main character has the bestname since Mike Wazowski. Get this – Carl Fredricksen. Carl!

6. The new U2 single sounds like dogshit. I don’t even think I finished it, and I used to like U2. A lot.

7. The new Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band record, Working On A Dream is streaming over at NPR. Click the link to hear it. I’m sort of disappointed with it. There’s enough there to hold my attention – but it’s like, the songs feel really half baked. Disappointing, but not terrible.

8. No Doubt is touring this summer with Paramore. It’s good they’re getting back together. I saw them in 2002. Good show. Unfortunate that they’re playing with Paramore. Okay, okay, so I dug Misery Business! I’m sorry!

9. I could not believe my ears when I heard this. Wow.

10. Most fast food is an excellent idea in theory, but poor in execution. Just sayin’.

One Twenty Oh Nine

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I was inspired today watching the inaugural festivities, and decided to cobble together a mixtape featuring songs I felt were appropriate for the occasion. Enjoy!

Click here to download.

Tracklist:

Change Is Gonna Come – Otis Redding
The World Is An Open Door – Franz Nicolay
Sorrow – Bad Religion
Afrobama – Cody Chesnutt
Come Together – The Beatles
The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan
Black Man – Stevie Wonder
Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
I Want To Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
The Start of Something – Voxtrot

The World Is An Open Door

At long fucking last, we’ve come to the final day – erm- final HOURS of the Bush Presidency.

The morning of January 20, 2001 has been seared in my mind for eight long years. It was cold and snowy here in Chicago. I sat in my room quietly as I watched GWB take the oath of office. There was something painfully unfair about the whole event. I was fifteen at the time – old enough to have a political conscience, so the Bush v. Gore election from the previous November hurt – yet I really was not mentally capable of handling the repercussions of that ugly and incredibly costly election.

One day short of eight years later, I can look back and safely say we are not at all better off than we were before George Walker Bush took office. The Twin Towers no longer punctuate the New York City skyline. Thousands of our troops are dead in two very costly (and completely unnecessary) wars. So many scandals and controversies. No progress. Had there not been strict restrictions on stem cell research, by this point, we could have been leaps and bounds ahead in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s research among others. Nah. It’s against Dubbya’s religious beliefs. Ugh.

I could go on and on. Not necessary at this point.

Tomorrow is such a big day for our country. It’s the 1UP in this Super Mario game we call life. This is the do over. At 11 AM CST, and Barack Hussein Obama takes office as the 44th President of the United States.

That still blows my mind every time I think about it. Like many other Americans, I feel like I have a personal relationship with the guy. It’s like watching your kid go off on the school bus on the first day of school. I haven’t forgotten his cheaply produced Senate ads from 2004. I remember thinking: “Who the fuck is this guy?”. Then he became Senator. Then my mother and I watched him declare his candidacy for President on that cold day in February 2007 in our kitchen. Then he became the frontrunner. Then the candidate.

Then that perfect, inspiring, life-altering moment in Grant Park that mild evening in November.

Now we’re here. One night before the weight of the world is placed firmly upon his shoulders. I can’t deny that I’m rooting for him every step of the way. I think it’s that important. If it’s anyone that can direct us out of the trouble we’re in, it’s this dude.

Barack Obama is no messiah. He may not even get half of the things done he’s promising to get done. The challenges he’s facing are immense, and quite possibly, are beginning to rival those of FDR’s first days in office during the Great Depression That’s definitely something to consider. Regardless, Barack Obama, motivates people to be better. To try a little harder. That’s what matters. We can’t do the big things without the push to get us going. He’s providing the nudge.

This transfer of power represents a change of course. A total 180 from any other American Presidency we’ve ever seen. I’m hoping to see some openness in government again. We need a modern presidency. One that keeps the nation involved in the changes and allows us a voice that we can hope will listen.

I look to tomorrow and the days that follow with excitement, cautious optimism, and even some idealism. Regardless of your politics, I think that’s something everyone can invest a little in. Your future depends on it.

With examples of the past eight years and this seismic change in leadership, I hope that this country can again be a place to be proud of – instead of angry with.