October 26, 2007

The Weeklies #8

The Weekly Answer: Those of you who guessed numbers 1, 3 and 4, were correct. Freaky, huh?

The Weekly Worst/Best Moment. Last night I put Mia to bed. Beth and I had a good alternating bedtime lineup thing working for a long time. But it fell apart several months ago and we're just now getting back on track. See, Mia would much rather Beth put her to bed. It was an epic struggle last night. Over the course of a half hour I went from hearing I don't like you...at all to I love you very much daddy. I rubbed her head, she rubbed mine. We kissed, made up, and, eventually, one of us fell asleep.

The Weekly Reads. I started the week by tackling Humphrey Hawksley's (god, how he must have been teased in elementary school) The History Book. It was decent. It reminded me a little too much of John Twelve Hawks' The Traveler - a dystopian near future with an all-seeing government - without the mysticism. I'd wait until it's available in paperback. It's worth $7.99, not $25. Then came the book I've been waiting for - Stephen Colbert's I Am America (And So Can You!). You want the short review? Eh. When Colbert started his nightly run on Comedy Central, I was concerned that it would be nothing but schtick. And while it is schtick, it's so much more - Colbert proves himself to be a gifted and extremely bright satirist. The book, however, is nothing but the two-dimensional schtick I'd worried he'd deliver on his show. It's not bad - it's genuinely funny. But Colbert is so much better than this book would lead you to believe. Compare the bulk of the book with his address to the White House Correspondent's Dinner (the transcript appears in the back of the book) a few years ago and you'll see what I mean. It's good...but it could have been much better.

The Weekly Music. Last year, Say Anything's ...Is A Real Boy was one of my top picks. It was an album that did almost everything right - it was catchy, unique and incredibly smart. This year, Say Anything is back with In Defense of the Genre, a sprawling 27-track 2-CD sophomore album. Like it's predecessor, it's smart and unique but creative mastermind Max Bemis might have bitten off more than the band can collectively chew. There's almost too much here. Bemis and company hop from style to style. The music roams from deep introspection to angry lashing-out. Say Anything could have taken these 27 tracks and turned out one brilliant single CD but what's here is good. Just not as good as their debut. Sometimes less is more. The surprise of the fall has to be Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant's collaboration with bluegrass songstress Alison Krauss. The resulting album - Raising Sand produced by T Bone Burnett and featuring covers of songs by artists such as Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits - is hauntingly brilliant. It is timeless. And I mean that in the true sense of the word - one moment it sounds like something easily recorded in the rural south fifty years ago while another it sounds perfectly modern. It's a strange beast. But a wonderful one.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Poof! Look, David Copperfield just made his career disappear!

The Weekly Picture. I can't post it. Seriously. It involves a tiny bare bottom and two strategically placed star stickers. You'll just have to take my word for it. Priceless.

The Weekly Question. You can spend a day with any one author, musician or actor - living or dead. Who do you choose and why?

Posted by Chris at October 26, 2007 6:59 AM

That's a tough question, so I'll just have to give you one of each:

I'd like to fish for marlin with Ernest Hemingway in the morning, tour LA and go out to dinner with Jack Nicholson in the afternoon and evening, and play guitar into the night with Johnny Cash.

I saved him for last so he can help save my soul from the sins of the day.

Posted by: Jeff St Real at October 26, 2007 8:17 AM

wow...one of the toughest questions yet....I think that today, I'd choose Richard Dawkins...his books make my brain hurt (in a good way). I'd like to see what makes him tick, how his intellect is organized...I bet he's a good cook too...I just have a feeling.

Tomorrow I might have a different answer though...is that ok?

Posted by: wn at October 26, 2007 8:36 AM

I would have to say I would spend my day with John Waterhouse (painter) b/c in his painting all his models look eerily just like me... I want to ask him who she is, what her story is and why he loved redheads so much... OH and have him paint an awesome painting of me too!

Posted by: Stephanie at October 26, 2007 8:38 AM

Holy shit, I wrote a long old post and than it disappeared, DAMMIT!

Let's see...

I said something about ONE ONE, I laugh in the face of one! And then I wrote something like without any further ado...

I would want to have a drink (or 12) with Hemingway. I would want to have a cool glass of Lemonade on the veranda with Flannery O'Connor. I would want to take a long walk along the current Cannery Row with Steinbeck (who is also my all time fav) to see what he has to say about the current tourism that has over taken the area and find out what it was really like in that area back in the day and, finally, I would want to have a cup of coffee at the local cafe with Sylvia Plath (but not a cup of coffee in her apt... near her stove...)

Music? Bono and Dave Matthews. Though it is likely I would just be all drool-y and ogle these two men; I also respect them and their character - mostly I would drool ;)

Finally, Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn (whom I love!), Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. I am a total fan of old movies. (Though I might consider Tom Cruise just so I could sucker punch him but I do not think you meant that question in that way?!)

Posted by: Christina at October 26, 2007 8:52 AM

Ronald Reagan. I know you are disgusted. But, I would love to talk to him and ask him all about the cold war and how it really ended.

Posted by: Maribeth at October 26, 2007 9:16 AM

The child, she is fickle with her love. It only gets worse as she gets older, I hear.

I read about Raising Sand in the Sunday NY Times and ran over an old lady getting to the store to buy it before I realized that I always buy new stuff via iTunes to save a little money. I'm a huge Alison Krauss fan and, hello? Led Zeppelin?* Awesome? Felt bad about the old lady, though.

Jimmy Stewart because he was awesome in just about every way.

* Led Zeppelin's getting back together for one concert in London next month in honor of their recently deceased producer. I'm sure the tickets magically sold out before they even went on sale.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at October 26, 2007 9:40 AM

I would spend a day with Shannon Hoon, the lead singer of Blind Melon. His story was such a tragedic one but it help me with things I was going through at the same time.

Posted by: Darren at October 26, 2007 9:46 AM

I have to admit, I am not a fan of Stephen Colbert. I feel like he's just doing Jon Stewart's show, but with schtick, as you called it. I don't really get the need for his show to even exist, to be honest. I loved him when he was on the Daily Show, but now...eh.

Anyway...I'd spend the day with Elton John. I have been an EJ fan since I was 13, so that would be...oh...33 years now. I would force him to listen to some pieces of his music that I bet he hasn't listened to in 25 years, and I would make him love them all over again, as much as I do. You know the ones, those little remembered tracks on the B-side of the album, sandwiched between the two radio hits that everyone is sick to death of. Yes, Elton, THOSE! BRILLIANT! Even today, the mandolin/sitar of Holiday Inn, Track 2, Side B on Madman Across the Water makes me sigh in sheer pleasure.

And for any of you about to tell me there has been good music since 1971, yes...I know...whatever.

Posted by: Candy at October 26, 2007 9:51 AM

River Phoenix-
Its coming up on the anniversary of his death, and I'm a little morbid about such things, but Id love to know what he thinks of Joaquin's success...
*sigh* Oh how I loved him so...


Posted by: shannon at October 26, 2007 10:05 AM

I know this may seem like a very random thing to think about, but I have always wondered how you manage to read several books a week. You appear to be a very busy person, dedicated to many things. What is your secret?

As for your question about whom I would want to spend a day with, I will have to think a bit more about that. Actually, maybe Mozart. We have the same birthday, something my Mom has always been very happy about and mentions every year. Now I spend a lot of time in his city, Salzburg. So I guess it would be great to spend January 27th together with him and eat some cake!

Posted by: Catharina at October 26, 2007 10:39 AM

Author--EB White or Anne Frank (with a translator since I don't speak Dutch)

Musician--Bruce Springsteen

Actor--...not really an actor, but, Alfred Hitchcock has always fascinated me.

Posted by: wordgirl at October 26, 2007 11:09 AM

Paul Robeson. Have you even heard of him? He sang Ol Man River in the earlier black and white Showboat film.

A very controversial figure until the day he died but interesting.

I'll go back and see if I picked number 2. I think I did.

Have a great weekend.

Posted by: ann adams at October 26, 2007 11:12 AM

I'm thinking I would love to sit down with Johnathan Larson who wrote "Rent". I love love love Rent - I'm not prone to busting out in showtunes, but I've seen "Rent" onstage three times, and would go a dozen more (and might). It really moved me, and I find it so sad that he died before seeing the success it became and knowing how it brought so much to so many.

Posted by: sarah at October 26, 2007 11:14 AM

I was right about #2. How about that!!

Posted by: ann adams at October 26, 2007 11:22 AM

That picture sounds priceless.

I know it sounds uber lame, but I would want to hang out with Rhett Miller, the lead singer for the Old 97's. The teenage girl in me would want to make out with him for hours and then sit by his side, holding his hand, while he wrote a beautiful song about us making out.

Oh yes, uber lame. But also, uber hot.

(In this wish I am not married. And neither is he. I would have for us to be cheating on our spouses.)

Posted by: Isabel at October 26, 2007 11:36 AM

well it's kind of unfair that you'd lump all three into one question.

But I'd have to say Helen Mirren. I think she's FAB and she makes me proud to be a woman.

First runner up - Kate Winslet, whom I have a wee girl-crush on. I like her for all the same reasons I like Dame Helen.

Posted by: kalisah at October 26, 2007 11:54 AM

I would love to spend a day with Dave Grohl.

Posted by: slinger at October 26, 2007 12:12 PM

John Lennon, hands down.

Why? Because he was so damn good.

Posted by: Arwen at October 26, 2007 12:21 PM

i'm gonna go with elvis.
kurt cobain?
anne frank?

too many options.

Posted by: ali at October 26, 2007 12:48 PM

I wasn't able to read yesterday's post until today. #2 isn't a dream, it's a reality when you live in austin (I'm not sure about the tattooed numbers on the bootie though).

Posted by: Cindy at October 26, 2007 12:49 PM

Gregory Corso or e e cummings--both brilliant writers who never lost the trick of being childlike and full of wonder without being childish or trite. I'd like to sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch them watching everything else.

Posted by: samantha at October 26, 2007 12:56 PM

I'd like to hang out with Stephen King. I've always been a fan (of the books, NOT the movies... oh, except maybe Shawshank Redemption).

Posted by: sue at October 26, 2007 1:52 PM

Well, totally missed the Copperfield Story. Too upset about Rice and the Arar thing... ummm...

Only a day... what about a night?
Musician: Pearl Jam or Bruce Springsteen. (A night with Matt Cameron or Eddie Vedder though...)

Author: Michael Ondaatje, although I would cry.

Actors: I'd spend a night with Joseph Fiennes.

Posted by: Nat at October 26, 2007 3:30 PM

Jane Austin, Douglas Coupland or Chuck Palahniuk. It would be a hard choice, but I think I'd have to go with Jane because if I chose Chuck or Doug, I'd walk away from that day pregnant.

Posted by: Mr lady at October 26, 2007 4:34 PM

That is so weird. I just put two items on request for myself at the library. One: Stephen Colbert's book. Two: Say Anything's CD. Not even kidding!

Posted by: Librarian Girl at October 26, 2007 5:00 PM

Mozart. Genius, astonishingly gifted, and one filthy dirty guy. I'd like to spend 24 hours with that.

Posted by: Kelly at October 26, 2007 5:50 PM

This is a really hard question. My immediate response was Kerouac. Much love for that insanely fucked up man. But then I thought that it'd be equally rad to spend time with Nick Drake. I mean, that man's mind was crazy genius. So those are my choices. Because I like breaking the rules. Haha!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at October 26, 2007 8:17 PM

Freddie Mercury. Because damn. That guy? Is amazing.

I heart him.

Don't judge me.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 27, 2007 12:25 AM

I would not choose to spend the day with anybody "of note." I'd only be disappointed when I found out that he or she was full of shit like everybody else.

Posted by: Sphincter at October 27, 2007 11:12 AM

I'd love to spend the day with Eddie Izzard. Why? Because he is just a hoot. I mean, have you seen "Dressed To Kill", his HBO stand DVD? Good Lord people... you can't NOT laugh at that stuff.

Posted by: coolchick at October 28, 2007 10:53 AM

Trent Reznor. I'm quite certain it'd be a day like no other.

Posted by: Brad at October 29, 2007 10:44 AM