Annual Report

Posted in Somebody's birthday on May 31st, 2006 by bill
Now that a year has passed since I started clogging up the Internet with my words and pictures, I've been reviewing the work (if you want to call it that) I've done so far. For the record, that's 183 entries (and 147 comments, only about a hundred of them from Cecil). Some updates and corrections: • Against all odds, Abe Vigoda remains alive. I know this because I have installed a Firefox status bar that keeps me continually abreast of Abe's well-being (in the broadest possible sense, i.e. whether he is alive or dead). You can get it for yourself here: http://www.vesterman.com/FirefoxExtensions/AbeVigodaStatus. • Last June 15, I predicted that the Lakers would trade Kobe Bryant after rehiring Phil Jackson. I could not have been more wrong. Not only did Kobe and Phil make it through the season together, they nearly upset the Phoenix Suns in the first round of this year's playoffs. I still think it would have been a good idea, but what the hell do I know? I'm a Warriors fan. • A Peanuts strip that I posted a while back disappeared due to whatever demons insert unwanted spaces into random HTML. It has now been restored, and you can view it here. • In my entry of June 27, 2005, I implied that the destruction of a dryer at the local laundromat was due to negligence. A subsequent discusssion with the manager revealed that the incident was in fact caused by a customer who tried to dry a down sleeping bag in the machine, which is something that you should never, ever do. The bag had a hole in it, some feathers got into the gas flames that heat the machine, and the rest is history. I'd like to apologize to the management of Bud's Suds, the employees, their families, and anyone else I may have offended with my ill-informed speculation. • The mural on the side of Dave's Coffee Shop has been painted over since I wrote about it. Which makes no goddamn sense, because the building's still not being used for anything. I hope the parties responsible are publicly flogged. • In one of my entries about Steve Martin, I said this: "The movie version of Shopgirl, starring the man himself, is coming out soon, and it is on this that I pin whatever slim hopes I have of Steve once again making a good film." I only recently got around to seeing Shopgirl, and it is a good film, although in a very different way from, say, The Jerk. It is sometimes funny but often melancholy, permeated with a sense of loss. Set in a burnished-looking LA, it could conceivably be viewed as a sort of sequel to LA Story, if you imagine that Steve's goofy weatherman character has matured and grown wealthy, but had his spirit crushed somewhere along the way—probably by the loss of Victoria Tennant. As in LA Story, Steve seems to be playing himself here, but this is a somber Steve who's given up on happy endings, at least for himself. • When I reviewed Martina Topley-Bird's album Anything, I was unaware that this domestic release is a truncated version with three fewer songs than Martina's UK album Quixotic. Why this was done is beyond me; two of the three songs are excellent, and there was plenty of room for them. Anything remains a good bang for the buck, but for the whole story it's worth seeking out the import. • I'm gonna have to go ahead and say that Spoon's album Gimme Fiction is better than I gave it credit for. I've kept coming back to it over the last few months, which means that it's the real thing. I'd like to apologize to Spoon, their families, Matador records, and anyone else who may have suffered because of the profound influence I wield over the record-buying public. • In re Blue Öyster Cult's Workshop of the Telescopes, I said this: "The first disc is a waste of time." Further listening has caused me to reconsider this rash statement; as So-Called Jeff pointed out, songs like "Stairway to the Stars" and "Career of Evil," while noticeably cowbell-deficient, are nothing to sneeze at. My conscience is now clear, so I can sleep soundly tonight and start making new mistakes tomorrow.