Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thanks to KT, I will meet Ben Folds!

I had purchased two tickets a few weeks back for me and Katie to see Ben Folds at Radio City Music Hall in NYC on Nov. 7. Of course, the tickets are for seats in Row F of the second mezzanine.

Katie...the greatest person on the face of the Earth...ever! (I have to suck up to her big time for this!)
Anyway, unbeknownst to me, Katie entered a contest on to win 2 tickets to the same show AND the opportunity to meet Ben and opening act The Fray backstage. Well, guess what? Katie won! And now those two tickets I purchased are going to get sold (I just can't bring myself to scalp, so I'm selling them at a "2-for-1" price to someone she knows) and we'll hopefully be sitting somewhere closer than 2nd mezzanine. But the big thing is...I'M GOING TO MEET BEN FOLDS!

Ben is probably second only to Peter Gabriel on my list of musical heros (well...Ben and Todd Rundgren might be tied for No. 2), so I am very excited about meeting him.

Of course, I'm flying to Florida a couple of days later for my friend Cliff's wedding. I'm totally expecting either my flight down or my flight back to crash since there is no possible way that much can go right for me in the span of a week.

The Onion: Homeland Security investigating Halloween threats

I love The Onion...haven't read it too much lately, but this is good...

Trick-Or-Treaters To Be Subject To Random Bag Searches | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

WASHINGTON, DC—Responding to 'a possible threat of terror and fright,' Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced Monday that trick-or-treaters will be subject to random bag searches this Halloween season.

'Individuals concealing their identities through clever disguise, and under cover of night, may attempt to use the unspecified threat of 'tricks' to extort 'treats' from unsuspecting victims,' Chertoff said. 'Such scare tactics may have been tolerated in the past, but they will not be allowed to continue this Halloween.'

While he would not elaborate on the specific threat, Chertoff said his office had 'heard a couple spooky tales,' and indicated that there was good reason to believe that Americans face 'a very ghoulish scenario' this October.

Click on the link above to read more.

A Mike Doughty fan at The Onion?

Fire Truck! Fire Truck! Fire Truck!

Monday, October 24, 2005

As Fred Flinstone would say...


Update - 10/24/05
Well, Hurricane Wilma has made landfall near Cape Romano, Florida, as a dangerous Category 3 storm.

Watching CNN's coverage of the storm this morning, I can only wonder...when is Anderson Cooper going to start calling himself "Hurricane" Cooper, or my preferred nickname, 'Cane Cooper?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Some musical items

Well, I haven't really spent a lot of time working on music lately so I decided to rectify that Saturday. While I didn't really accomplish much as far as new ideas are concerned, I did manage to record or redo some things.

Parting of the Ways (Version 2)

I remixed this reworking of the original "Parting of the Ways." I'm still not completely happy with it, but it's good enough for now.

"Untitled 10-15-05" (demo)

This is a musical idea that goes back close to two years now, but I never really did anything with it until now. I'm not sure if I'm all that into it, but I figured I should give it a chance. We'll see. It definitely still needs a lot of well as lyrics.

"Will to Survive" (demo)

This is a song I wrote back around the mid-90s (actually, it was a third part of a song that sounded like something off an early 90s ELP record). I had recorded pretty much what you will hear some time ago, but I never got around to revisit it. I finally got back to it Saturday. I re-recorded the vocals and touched up the awkward end of the bridge (where it comes back into the chorus)...although it's still pretty messed up, it's much better than it was before (that's how bad it was). Obviously, this is also unfinished.

"Be My Number Two (Joe Jackson cover)"

I stumbled onto how to "sort of" play this Joe Jackson song the other day so I figured I would take a stab at recording my own version of it. I didn't spend too much time on it...just recorded some live -- and very sloppy -- playing and then vocals (I only did two takes and decided to move on). I don't like to put material online that isn't mine, but I'll take it down should I ever be asked to remove it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Philadelphia legend passes

Edmund Bacon, a longtime city planner responsible for shaping modern Philadelphia, died Friday at his Center City home. He was 95.

Although surpassed in mainstream notoriety by his son, actor Kevin Bacon, the elder Bacon was the man behind a number of Philly landmarks, including Society Hill, Independence Mall, Penn Center, University City, Penn's Landing, Market East, and the Far Northeast.

Bacon served as executive director of the City Planning Commission from 1949 to 1970 and his genius landed him on the cover of Time in 1964.

Here are some excerpts from a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Bacon's passing (registration required):

"Philadelphia has lost one of its greatest citizens," Gov. Ed Rendell said in an interview. "The landscape of this city would have been miserably different and decidedly poorer had Ed Bacon chosen not to be a Philadelphian..."

...An almost heroic, if not maniacal, force of will guided Mr. Bacon, a man born and raised in Philadelphia, a city that he viewed on the eve of World War II as "the worst, most backward, stupid city that I ever heard of." But almost in the same breath, he resolved then "that come hell or high water, I would devote my life's blood to making Philadelphia as good as I could..."

...Like Robert Moses, his sometimes rival in New York, Mr. Bacon shaped the urban landscape with grand - and sometimes grandiose - schemes. But unlike Moses, who controlled hundreds of millions of dollars and wielded the authority conferred by such wealth, Mr. Bacon achieved his stature and power from the force of his ideas and rhetoric, the clarity of his vision, the support of powerful reform-minded political patrons, and sheer stubbornness...

...Architect Vincent Kling, who worked with him on Penn's Landing and Penn Center - which replaced the Chinese Wall, a monumental stone railroad trestle that blockaded Center City from the Schuylkill to City Hall - described Mr. Bacon as "the brightest, most energetic city planner we've had here since William Penn..."

Sure, Bacon had his share of bad ideas...with his call to tear down Philadelphia's beautiful City Hall -- except for its central tower -- being one that even he would later regret. However, by all accounts, it is hard to imagine what Philadelphia would have been like without the visionary touch of Edmund Bacon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Somehow, it has been a good day

This day shouldn't have been so good for me. After all, after sleeping for about 4 1/2 hours, I woke up at 3:42 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep until I stole another 20-25 minutes during the 6:15 a.m. - 7 :15 a.m. slot.

Needless to say, I'm tired.

However, the day got better when I discovered there is a low-power AM radio station in Lansdale, PA, (not too far outside of Philly) that broadcasts old-time radio shows 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The best thing about this station, WNAR-AM, is that it streams its broadcast over the I was listening to Edgar Bergen's "The Charlie McCarthy Show" while I was at work this afternoon.

What's even better is that if I have another sleepless night Wednesday morning, I can fire up the computer at 4 a.m. and listen to my favorite radio show of all time..."The Shadow." If I miss it then, "The Shadow" also airs Saturday and Sunday nights at 10 p.m.

I haven't felt this geeky since "Doctor Who" came back to BBC television screens -- and, for those of us in the USA, to torrent download sites -- earlier this year.

And then the day got even better when I saw that the Phillies fired general manager Ed Wade after eight seasons in which they never made the playoffs. Now, I don't believe Wade was an awful GM. However, it was just time for him to go. The franchise needs to get new blood, new ideas. It was just time for a change.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Homeland Security is at it again

New York City today warned that its subway system could be the target of a terrorist threat "in the coming days." The announcement came after NYC law enforcement officials received specific, credible information regarding the threat. Now, I am sure Mayor Michael Bloomberg would not have announced this publicly if he and his aides did not believe there was something to it. NYC was hit the hardest on 9/11 and has, for the most part, run smoothly during times when previous threats were announced by the Department of Homeland Security.

So this announcement seems somewhat ominous to me and probably should be taken seriously by New Yorkers...especially by my friend Katie.

Anyway, back to the point...NYC tells everybody to be aware of anything suspicious and to treat this threat seriously, right?

So what does the Department of Homeland Security do? DHS spokesman Russ Knocke says this: ""The intelligence community has concluded this information to be of doubtful credibility. We shared this information early on with state and local authorities in New York."

Now, this may very well be the case. But considering DHS apparently concluded there was "doubtful credibility" to widespread news reports and video images of flooding in New Orleans a full day after Hurricane Katrina struck and breached the levees, I'm inclined to go with the NYC authorities on this one.