What the kittens have taught me

Posted in Whatever Else on June 29th, 2005 by bill


The arrival of two rambunctious kittens has turned my life upside-down, although it was already pretty upside-down, so I think they’ve actually returned it to something resembling right-side-up.

Observing them carefully for the last week has given me a whole new way of looking at the world. Here are a few of the things the kittens have taught me:

  • There’s almost nothing that can’t be eaten, played with, or slept on.
  • Just because you couldn’t climb something yesterday, that doesn’t mean you won’t able to climb it today.
  • You never know when someone’s going to sneak up behind you and pounce on your head; but when they do, it will turn out to be your sibling, and you will enjoy wrestling with them.
  • When you sleep, sleep like your life depends on it, preferably sprawled across whoever happens to be in the vicinity.
  • Everybody likes you, and if they don’t, there’s something wrong with them.

They were a tragically underrated band

Posted in Audio transmissions on June 28th, 2005 by bill


Their name was That Petrol Emotion and they recorded five albums between 1986 and 1994. They played two-guitar rock music, vaguely political, always of the highest quality, precise and passionate at the same time. For some reason they never really caught on. Today you can get their albums for next to nothing; Amazon lists used copies of End of the Millennium Psychosis Blues starting at $1.79, Chemicrazy at $1.98, and Fireproof at one cent. These are their later albums, not as critically beloved as their first two, but still really excellent stuff.

For your listening pleasure, here’s a song from the B-side of one of their singles that you can’t get on CD (big ups to Bob at Cheese of the World for the digitizing facilities). It’s a lovely slow number called Chrome.

What Jim said

Posted in Whatever Else on June 28th, 2005 by bill

The other day on the basketball court, I was teamed up with my friend Jim and we were getting out butts whipped. I was feeling old and tired and out of sorts. At the end of one game I suggested that we switch teams so Jim could have a teammate with some energy. Jim said, instead of that, why don’t you just play with the energy you have in mind?

And you know what? He was right. I’ve played much better since then.

This is what happens…

Posted in Picture du jour on June 27th, 2005 by bill

…when somebody at the local laundromat forgets to clean out the lint traps.


And here’s a close-up:


Among the many things I sometimes forget…

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on June 20th, 2005 by bill

…is that the late Charles Schulz, creator of “Peanuts,” was a sage in his own way. Check out this strip, which appeared in today’s Chronicle (I was gonna just link to the Peanuts site, but today’s strip on there is completely different for some reason, so I had to scan it—sorry, Charlie).



Posted in Picture du jour on June 19th, 2005 by bill

In honor of Father’s Day, a picture of The Old Man I took in the Badlands of South Dakota:


Kobe and Phil, (Temporarily) Together Again

Posted in The sporting life on June 15th, 2005 by bill

I’ve been watching and reading the coverage of Phil Jackson’s return to the Lakers over the last 18 hours or so, and everyone’s making a big deal of how he’s going to coexist with Kobe. Which is a good question, given that after leaving the Lake Show Phil went public with his low opinion of Kobe as a human being. But the possibility everyone seems to ignore is that they won’t have to coexist, because the Lakers will trade Kobe’s ass.

Think about it: By dumping Kobe the Lakers could get rid of a cancer and bring in some serious talent in one fell swoop. Because of his marquee value, a lot of teams would be willing to ignore what a chump he is. How about…

• Kobe to the Sixers for Allen Iverson (probably won’t happen, given Philly’s attachment to Iverson and Iverson’s man-love for Mo Cheeks; but then again, Kobe’s a Philly guy)

• Kobe to the Cavs for LeBron James (sounds crazy, but Larry Brown’s about to take over in Cleveland, and he has a reputation for loving to make big deals)

• Kobe to Houston for T-Mac (that whole T-Mac/Yao thing isn’t working out so fantastic, is it?)

• Kobe to Denver for Carmelo, Nené, and Earl Boykins (just as a real “fuck you” to the Kobester on his way out the door)

• Kobe to Sacramento for Mike Bibby and Peja (Sac gets some box office, the Lakers get two options to work into the triangle)

So that’s my prediction: Kobe will not be a Laker at the start of next season. Remember you heard it here first.

East Oakland Faith and Deliverance

Posted in Picture du jour on June 9th, 2005 by bill


So tell me honestly…

Posted in Somebody's birthday on June 7th, 2005 by bill

How do you feel about this whole astrology thing? I myself don’t believe in it. Mostly. But every once in a while something leads me to wonder.

Like today, for instance, is the birthday of both Tom Jones and Prince. So I started looking around the Web to see if somewhere it said “Your Birthday Today: You are a sex machine to all the chicks.”

Which it didn’t. But I did find out that today is also the birthday of two showbiz types who are known to have very large penises—Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction guitarist) and Liam Neeson (Jedi Knight)—as well as Dean Martin. Was Dino well-hung? I can’t remember ever hearing one way or the other. But he certainly had a lot of self-confidence.

And just to add to the picture, also born today: Anna Kournikova. You can insert your own joke here. I mean literally, you can click on “Comment” and insert your own joke.

Palmer and the Dream of Wires

Posted in Audio transmissions on June 6th, 2005 by bill

Like most people who came of age in the 80s, I always thought of Robert Palmer as a) the lead singer of Power Station and b) the guy who fronted that band of robotic models in the “Addicted to Love” video.

Turns out Palmer had a whole other career before that, a pretty interesting one. On his 1974 debut, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, he worked with members of Little Feat and the Meters to produce a slick, coked-up version of New Orleans funk. The results are, em, simply irresistible—especially the title track, an Allen Toussaint song originally recorded by Lee Dorsey.

I recently managed to score a copy of Palmer’s out-of-print 1980 album Clues. It’s a weird mix of styles, new wavey but with a bit of a Caribbean lilt. Especially odd is Palmer’s version of Gary Numan’s “I Dream of Wires,” with backing provided by Numan himself and Tubeway Army bassist Paul Gardiner. It answers the musical question, “What if Gary Numan had been a soul singer?”

So if you ever wondered, click here