Friday, July 16, 2004 at 11:54:48 (EDT)

Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Another Siren Festival is upon us. Tomorrow way too many people will try to cram in to see way too many bands in an inadequately small space in Coney Island. It will no doubt be way too hot and since it's an all-ages event, there will be no beer. What a good idea!

I have always avoided the Siren festivals for these reasons. It's just too much trouble, they idea is a good one (free show, lots of good bands) but it's all at the expense of tolerable conditions. Even if I get a good spot in the crowd, what if I have to pee? I'll either never get out or never get back in again. Living in this city it never ceases to amaze me how people can't wait to pack themselves into ever-tinier spaces. We live in tiny apartments, we ride crowded subways, we go to shows that sell out and are probably over the fire limit anyway. I suppose the threat of the crowds at the Siren Festival probably do keep away a lot of people, but enough people will not be phased by this to show up and elbow me in the ribs for 9 hours.

Anyway I bring this all up because Mission of Burma is one of the bands performing. I'd really like to see them, and figure this may be my only chance to see them a) in the next 6 months and b) for free. When they've played here in the past, they usually end up at Irving Plaza (bleah) and charge $25 for the privilege. This time around, some friends of mine will be on the beach nearby, so perhaps I can seek refuge there. I still don't understand why they place the stages facing away from the beach. If they turned them around and opened the cattle pen in which spectators are forced to stand, then many more people could see the bands. What's the point of going to an outdoor concert if people are gonna be all penned up anyway? It's the worst of both worlds.

Okay, I'm done. Regardless of what I do during the day, I have to get to Mighty Robot Saturday evening for Oneida's last show before they go on tour. Not only is it the last show before the tour, but it's probably their last show as a completely Brooklyn-based band. After the tour Fat Bobby will be chasing his dreams to Boston. The band will go on, but it'll be one of those long-distance relationship band things. I guess lots of bands do this, even my old band did it for a while. It'll make things harder on them, but perhaps it will give their music more focus or something. Anyway, I gotta see this show, since who knows how long it'll be before they get back here. Also playing with them are the ever-more-annoying Ex Models. Sheesh, "I can't believe I used to like these guys."



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Wednesday, July 14, 2004 at 13:44:13 (EDT)

Adam & Eve ... Adam & Steve
The Senate has rejected the Gay Marriage Ban that George Bush so desperately wanted to shore up votes with right-wing religious lunkheads (this method is also known as "preaching to the choir"). Since this was obviously just a ploy to ingratiate himself with voters (like he really gives a damn about whether two dudes can get hitched), I'm glad that it appears this is has been put to rest for the remainder of this political season. From the article:

A divided U.S. Senate rejected a bid on Wednesday to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, likely killing the measure backed by President Bush for at least this election year.

The vote went down at 50 to 48, falling short of the 60 votes the measure needed to pass. Is it just me, or is everybody getting sick of how close things have been getting called lately? Ever since the 2000 election, every time something goes up for a vote, it barely squeaks by or it barely gets refused. What happened to landslides? The only landslide I can think of is the last election when US Representative Edolphus Towns, incumbent Democrat, won against some Republican guy by something like 97%.

I suppose I should look at such even disagreement on so many issues as evidence that Americans are becoming more decisive and opinionated, but somehow I suspect that isn't the case. Rather, it seems they're just getting better at following orders.

What does Jack Chick think about gay marriage? Well, what do you think he thinks about it?

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004 at 11:43:28 (EDT)

You're gonna burn in hell
Thanks to JoshR, I'm again obsessively reading Chick Tracts online. Jack Chick's inflammatory comics demonstrate both his incredible comic artistry and his viewpoint, which borders on insanity. And not good insanity. This is religious insanity, which is never much fun. But it certainly is fascinating. Although deeply dedicated to the idea that devotion to Christ is the only way to salvation, he views Catholicism on par with Satanism. In fact, it's difficult to determine which branch of Christianity with which he feels most comfortable. Perhaps what he really wants is to begin a sect of Chickism.

His little comic books work off the "confrontational proselytization" palette, which likes to push your buttons until, magically, you collapse, admitting that you're a good-fer-nothing, no-account sinner and you're ready to jump through some hoops so you don't end up in hell. In some ways his tracts are like the religious version of Howard Stern; sooner or later he says something that gets you riled up. For some reason (glutton for punishment?) I can't get enough of this. His methods are similar to Brother Jed and his Church of Nomadic College Campus Hasslers.

My new favorite tract is "Love the Jewish People." By describing God's wrath as though it was a kind of voodoo curse, Chick basically says "You better be nice to Jews, since God promised to smite anybody who persecuted them." Of course, Jews didn't buy into the whole Jesus-Messiah thing but we get a pass from Chick because he's afraid God will cause his empire to crumble. To me, there's implicit anti-Semitism here; even this tract ends with a reminder that Jesus is the only Messiah and therefore Jews are getting away with something by not believing this. So Jews are okay, but Catholics are not. There's something really insulting here (not to mention countless other such moments through his body of work), but I can't stop reading. Despite the intensity of his vitriol in some of his pieces, Chick Tracts feel mostly harmless. His anger seems humorous because after all, it's just this little comic book that over-earnest weirdos leave on park benches for us sinner to find.

Which reminds me, Buzz McKinnon has been bringing Chick Tracts home lately. He claims he "doesn't know" where he finds them. Hmmm...

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Monday, July 12, 2004 at 12:20:03 (EDT)

Send me an angel

Arthur Wood's Broken Angel

On hot, humid days I like to ride my bike around in the more industrial parts of the neighborhood. This has several advantages: 1) when it's hot, there aren't as many people out, 2) the heat gives me an excuse to sweat as much as I always do, and 3) the smell from the meat processing plants makes me feel better about my own personal hygiene. More self-justification here!

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Monday, July 12, 2004 at 11:43:56 (EDT)

Fold your hands child, you walk like a mantis
Buzz found a praying mantis, so we took some pictures of it:


It kept jumping on the camera lens for some reason


They look cute from a distance but they're kind of scary close up

Praying Mantids have been known to eat hummingbirds.

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Monday, July 12, 2004 at 11:20:52 (EDT)

I'm your fan

Cobretti at Asterisk, July 10, 2004

You can't really see it in the photo, but Cobretti has two drummers who share a single bass drum. So they have to face each other, looking a little like they're conducting one of those mirroring exercises they make you do in first-year acting classes. I had long been awaiting this performance, as it not only marked the return of Cobretti to the stage, but the return of Jeremy, the guy who used to sing lead for Bob City. I think he still sounds good, but the shortcomings in the sound system made it difficult to tell. But I think it sounded good, so that's all that matters. The Asterisk space seems to be doing well, too. They didn't have the deck open, but with the number of people who turned out for the show, they probably had to let people out there at some point. The one downside of the space is that it gets really stuffy, so everybody ends up crowding onto the roof deck.

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Monday, July 12, 2004 at 10:28:33 (EDT)

The piano has been drinking Rheingold
I missed this the other day:

Rheingold Brewery Marks Return To Brooklyn By Rolling Out First Keg

That's right, they're making Rheingold right here in the neighborhood in some unmarked building on Waverly. One of these days I'll figure out which one it is. What's alarming is that NY1, a mostly-credible journalistic outlet, uses the contraction "it's" when grammatically it should have used the possessive "its," a mistake I find unacceptable in blogs let alone situations in which people are actually paid to write.

Typos bug me, but I guess what's more annoying is somebody who feels the need to point them out. No, wait, the most annoying thing is when somebody spouts about how they can't stand people who demonstrate poor usage and then in the next line they screw something up themselves. Their all such jerks.

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