Sunday, November 18, 2007

No talking, please.

Saw Broken Social Scene Plays Kevin Drew's Spirit If at Webster Hall a few nights ago.

Perhaps I'm a bit burnt out from seeing so many shows. Or maybe I'm just getting really old. (Probably both.) But there were parts of the show that I found quite annoying. And BSS is one of my favorite bands.

Wish they wouldn't be so chatty. And it's especially bothersome when their chatter borders on the dopey when almost all their songs are rather serious and intense. Kind of screws up the mood.

As my irritation grew, they, on occasion, began to sound like a hillbilly collective from the Great White North. But all was forgiven when Emily Haines came on stage -- especially when she she filled in for Feist on "7/4 (Shoreline)." I'm certain I wouldn't be nearly as big a BSS fan if they didn't have vocal contributions from Emily, Feist and Amy Millan. They're like scraggly frat boys who need the intervention of girlfriends to shape up.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Same But Different

Saw an interesting segment of Bill Moyers Journal featuring Thomas Cahill, a historian. Cahill made some rather insightful observations. He pointed out how the people who hate each other most tend to be those who are the most alike except for some minor difference. As an example, he referred to the Catholic-Protestant conflict in the 16th century. He said that, if a Martian had come down to earth and listened to the two sides, the Martian probably would've wondered why the two sides were fighting when they seemed to believe basically the same things. Cahill then noted the parallels between the Catholic-Protestant conflict and the Shiite-Sunni conflict. And perhaps we're the Martians wondering why the two Muslim factions are fighting when they seem to believe basically the same things.

But his most interesting observation concerned racism. As Cahill put it, each country has its dream and its nightmare, and racism is the American nightmare. He noted that we (the collective "we," of course) essentially committed genocide on the indigenous people of this continent; we then enslaved Africans; and we dropped atomic bombs on Asians. In Cahill's estimation, the U.S. would never have dropped an atomic bomb on Europeans.

I'm not sure that I agree with him, but it's certainly an intriguing viewpoint. Had the Japanese surrendered first and the Germans persisted, would the U.S. have dropped atomic bombs on Frankfurt and Hamburg?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Living in Oblivion

While riding the train to work this morning, I noticed a disheveled man sprawled across a short segment of seats. He looked to be in bad shape, and I wondered whether he was alive. That thought wouldn't have crossed my mind had I not read a story a while back about a dead man who rode the 1 train for several hours before anyone noticed that he was dead. When I read that story, I was troubled by the seeming invisibility of the dead man. But it wasn't difficult to understand how something like that could happen. I could easily imagine myself as one of the other passengers enveloped within the three-inch perimeter around me that formed my zone of concern. And that bothered me.

So this morning, after the thoughts above swirled through my head, I made it a point to look for the subway car's ID number. I figured I'd call MTA after getting above ground to advise that they should send someone to check up on the man. Not long afterwards, we pulled into Penn Station, and two policemen stepped in to examine the man. I was glad that someone had been thoughtful enough to alert the police. But as the minutes passed with the train idling while the police did their thing, my thoughts skipped tracks from concern for the man to concern about getting to the office on time for a conference call. And I quickly hopped off and scurried to the uptown local platform, betting that a local train would come and depart before the police finished their thing.

Just another reminder of how fast things move in this city.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Hazards of Observation

It's getting chilly finally, which means knee-high boots are once again out in full force. The whole jeans-tucked-into-boots look took some getting used to, but I rather like it now. There's no getting used to that look on guys, though. Each time I see a guy trying to pull that off (which is much more often than it ought to be), I wince and silently exclaim, "Ew!" Surely I'm not the only one.

I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing much of that this weekend. That sort of thing can put you in grave danger down in Texas.

I Don't Get to Feel It All

I'm on my way to EWR and, ultimately, Dallas. Been traveling a lot lately. So much so that it's not quite as bothersome anymore.

But I'm rather bothered by the timing of this trip. A couple of nights ago, I found out that Feist is going to be on SNL this Saturday.

I passed that bit of information to others who may be interested, including my Canadian co-worker who introduced me to Feist. Lo and behold, a short while later, she called to offer me a pair of tickets to the dress rehearsal. (She's got a friend who's friendly with Broken Social Scene and Feist. So friendly that she got to partake in a brunch with Brendan Canning in Toronto a few weeks back.). Anyhow ... I'm quite bummed that I had to turn down the tickets.

Oh well. I'll take solace in seeing Shout Out Louds for the third time tomorrow. Woohoo!