Black Is Back

I appropriated this image of Charles Thompson in Dublin from Diary of and Up and Coming Sociopath.

My town had a visitation last night from someone who, until recently, was thought to be long dead: Black Francis, rock star.

The circumstances of this happening were less than auspicious. It took place in a little hole-in-the-wall Oakland nightclub (the Uptown), on a weeknight, after all present had had their vitality drained by two underwhelming opening acts and long stretches of sweaty boredom in between. Some members of my party didn’t even stick around to see the headliner, and I can’t say as I blame them. I was questioning my own sanity when midnight came and went and there was still no sign of His Blackness. The sound check was dragging on interminably; a cadre of hipsters stood around the drum kit gesturing and nodding glumly, like doctors agreeing on a terminal diagnosis.

Modern Life Is…

…for one thing, pretty weird sometimes. I was just reading an AP story headlined “Iran Test-Fires Nine Missiles, Warns It Will Retaliate.” Serious business, that, with ramifications that could affect the future of the entire world. But the Internet doesn’t know that; it just picks up on the word “Iran” and on the right side of the page I get a picture of a pretty Middle Eastern girl and the words “Meet Persian Singles Online.” Or maybe I’m not giving the Web enough credit…maybe there’s a subtle “make love, not war” message being sent by Skynet’s future ancestors.

I’m feeling very modern today, listening to Beck’s new album Modern Guilt, which I downloaded last night and transported into work on my memory stick. (Note to self: Someday record Ian Dury cover called “Hit Me with Your Memory Stick.”) So far I’m digging it. The first song for some reason reminds me of “You’re So Vain.”

…and we’re back

I support our firefighters. And yet there’s something about this photo that I find irresistibly hilarious. Three dollars to whoever can supply the knee-slapping caption that is eluding me.

Well hello blogosphere! How have you been? Yes, you don’t need to tell me: It’s been much longer than a week. Circumstances have conspired to keep us apart for two whole months, and so much has happened that I scarcely know where to begin.

For instance, it appears that pretty much every part of California except for the block I live on is currently on fire. Every morning when I step outside to get my newspaper the air smells like a campground, and by mid-evening the sun has dwindled to a tiny orange dot because of all the smoke in the air. They say something like 1800 fires are burning in the state today, and you have to wonder how long that can go on before they start joining forces. I expect Arnold to come on TV any minute now and say: “I have some good news and bad news, Cal-ee-fornia. The good news is the number of fires has declined steeply from the high of 1800. The bad news is the entire state is now one big fire from Nevada to the Pacific Ocean.”