Tuesday, May 3, 2022


 Alito's majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade leaks

The scenario that opens Ministry for the Future inches closer to reality

Watching vote suppression intersect with the inception of a proto-Gestapo

All the ways the media salts the earth to facilitate the roll out of even more repressive state apparatus

Monday, April 11, 2022

Rest in Power Mark

Mark Desrosiers Obituary | Star Tribune

He was "very kind, compassionate, and he cared deeply for equality for all," said one U of M Libraries co-worker. Others described him as a "great advocate for students," and someone who "knew how to use his voice for things that mattered." Said another: "I will miss his sense of humor and the care and concern he had for everyone. He was a huge advocate and not afraid to fight the good fight, even if it caused a bit of conflict."

" ... [E]ven if it caused a bit of conflict." I chuckled through tears at that bit. Mark could get under your skin, for sure. My experience though was that when he caused conflict, when he made us gnash our teeth and take umbrage, if we sat with it for minute, it was because he was right and the brutal self-examination required to see that he was right hurt. And, if we blamed him for that hurt, he was big-hearted enough to take the blame and love us anyways. (Look, I'm not saying it was necessarily always that way, but even once was enough to make it so that when a position he took on something came with arguments like cutting barbs, even if it wasn't readily apparent, one grudgingly gave him the benefit of the doubt expecting he might be right in a way we just weren't ready to see yet.)

Mark was hard to keep up with. Not the least when trying to go shot-for-shot with him. Know some history? I don't know if there was a single topic I wouldn't have had to read, and re-read, volumes on to be prepared to argue with him about. He wasn't merely one of these trivia memorizers with a trove of names, dates, and data points filed away to no purpose other than the ability to put someone else in their place, though he certainly had that sort of knowledge, but it was all in service of a defiant worldview encompassing a fierce insistence on justice for the downtrodden. 

Know your music and pop culture pretty well? There's a better than fair chance Mark knew more by and about your favorite band than you ever did and could place their music in a context that, by introducing you to the work of other artists that presaged it, or contemporaneously exceeded it, blow your mind open. For me, it's The Fall -- the manifestation of Mark E. Smith's demons -- that he taught me to appreciate; breaking through the relatively narrow band of musical styles I could take in and groove on before my head was expanded.

Think you know about the Supreme Court? Well, let me tell you Mark could school you about the biographies of the justices and critique their jurisprudence as well as -- or even more effectively than -- a professor of the philosophy of law could, in my experience. 

There's a litany of topics I could plug into the, "You think you know about x? Well, let me tell you Mark would ..." format and we'd still not have talked about how his dancing would make you laugh and also want to dance shamelessly yourself. That may not be the most important thing ... but it was a thing ... and perhaps weirdly it mattered a lot to me. 

We grew up in different neighborhoods, didn't meet until high school, didn't become close friends until college, but there the fact we were both bookish, nerdy, obsessives cynical about the world in general in a way probably common to kids raised, if not poor, then close to it, in a certain type of family common to unspectacular suburbs of lesser cities in the hardscrabble 1970s probably made our friendship all but inevitable, despite some incompatibilities and points of contention. We were shaped in different ways by our parents' experience of the 1960s culture wars and our own coming of age during the Reagan years, the way everyone's experience is different and plays out on different bundle of neuroses and insecurities, I reckon. For both better and worse those experiences helped us bond once on campus, then off-campus, and for many years of being housemates after college. 

Frankly, I doubt I helped sharpen Mark's analytical framework the way he helped me dodge any number ideological holes I might have fallen down, nor that I was able to help him find those almost spiritual experiences of art he helped me discover. (I think he respected my appreciation of Yo La Tengo more than he shared it, and was happy to let me go on about Kim Stanley Robinson novels and stories so he didn't have to pay them as much mind.) But we went to a bunch of great shows, did a lot of drinking and talking and talking and drinking, and while we went down some negative spirals together I'm sure I'm better for all of it in the end. 

It breaks my heart that I let so much time pass since the last time time we talked. I can't believe he's gone so soon and that we'll never have another drink together, work on a mixtape, discuss what we're reading, or just reminisce. But we were Hornets, Highflowns, and Cryptonauts once upon a time and that'll have to be enough.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Yo La Tengo - Hanukkah 2021

While I don't have a formal "bucket list," if I did, attending the annual run of Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows would certainly have been near the top of it. That box is ticked! It was amazing. (A bit of an endurance test for this old, tender-footed man ... but well worth the barking dogs.) 

Consciously decided to not try to over-document the experience, so just one video snip from Night Two captured and no photos (apart from one of the last night's poster) but there are ones probably better than any I would've taken in the BrooklynVegan and jambands posts I'll be linking below. 

First Night:

Whatever trepidation I felt about having to navigate the subway to get to the venue dissipated as the whole process of getting from JFK to my lodgings, to Neilalien HQ, then to the Bowery Ballroom, and finally making way back to the room went as smooth as could be hoped. Walking for miles during the day to take in the atmosphere of Brooklyn was not my smartest idea though. 

This was my first time in a very crowded setting since the pandemic started and, as Ira acknowledged from the stage, it was both exciting and somewhat terrifying to be in that milieu. Over the course of the week we'd be hearing more and more about the Omicron variant emerging so the crowd's almost universal compliance with the plea to wear a mask was comforting. As was the vaccination card check at the door. 

Opening night was a terrific start to the week. Enjoyed Amy Rigby well enough (in retrospect, my reaction when describing her set the next day was more along the lines of, "Meh"), David Sedaris was funny, and Yo La Tengo delivered an outstanding set. I wasn't familiar with Steve Gunn but came away a fan of his jamming with Ira. 

Jambands write-up

BrooklynVegan write-up

SETLIST: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 11/28/2021 (Hanukkah Night 1)

Back in the New York Groove (KISS) (sung “Back With the New York Jews”)

Today Is The Day (fast)

For You Too

Let’s Do It Wrong (acoustic)


Shadows (with CJ Camerieri on French horn & trumpet)

Beanbag Chair (with CJC)

Eight Candles (Sam Elwitt) (with CJC & Kevin Micka on drums)

Walking Away From You (with CJC)

1-2-3 (Len Barry) (with CJC)

Before We Run (with CJC)

Sudden Organ

Artificial Heart


I Heard You Looking (with Steve Gunn on guitar)


At the Well (Last Roundup) (with CJC & Amy Rigby on guitar/vocals)

She’s My Best Friend (Velvet Underground)

It’s All Right (The Way That You Live) (Velvet Underground)

I Heard Her Call My Name (Velvet Underground)

Always and Forever (Heatwave) (with DJ Time Traveler on vocals)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Second Night:

I don't recall what my shortest turnaround between attending Yo La Tengo shows was prior to this week, but it was definitely a heck of a lot longer than 24 hours. Was delighted to find upon arriving that Sun Ra would be opening. Hadn't seen them since a Central Park summer series concert some time in the 90s. Still wild. And you know "Nuclear War" is going to get played at some point in the night so there's that to look forward to. 

BrooklynVegan write-up

SETLIST: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 11/29/2021 (Hanukkah Night 2)

Stupid Things



Tiny Birds


Paul Is Dead

I Was the Fool Beside You For Too Long

86-Second Blowout

Here You Are 

My Heart’s Reflection (with Sun Ra Arkestra horns)

Dreaming (Sun Ra) (with Arkestra horns)

Principal Punishes Students With Bad Impressions (Jad Fair) (with Arkestra horns)

Emulsified (Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers) (with Arkestra horns)

More Stars Than There Are In Heaven (boogie version) (with Arkestra horns)

Nuclear War (Sun Ra) (with Arkestra horns)


This Ain’t the Summer of Love (Blue Oyster Cult) (with Todd Barry on drums)

Can’t Make It On Time (The Ramones)

TV Set (The Cramps)

Heaven Only Knows (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Third Night:

Third and Fourth Night enjoyment factor dipped a bit first half of each set as they went a little slower a little longer than I was in the mood for, but more than enough highlights to keep my spirits up. Wasn't a fan of the opening act's set, although they were great support while playing with Yo La Tengo.   

Jambands write-up

Setlist: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 11/30/2021 (Hanukkah Night 3)

You Are Here 

The Fireside 


The Point Of It

Love Minus Zero/No Limit 

The Ballad of Red Buckets

Shades of Blue  

Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)


Tears Are In Your Eyes (instrumental) 


She Cracked  

Double Dare

Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind 

Blues Stay Away From Me  Entire set with Marisa Anderson and William TylerE:

The Kid With the Replaceable Head (w/ Ivan Julian on guitar/vocals)

Going, Going, Gone (w/ Ivan Julian on guitar/vocals)

Blank Generation (w/ Ivan Julian on guitar/vocals)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Fourth Night:

I was late to this one, missed the opening act and comedian but caught all of YLT. 

BrooklynVegan write-up


Out of the Pool

Little Eyes

One PM Again (without YH)

Can’t Forget (without YH)

Lewis (without YH)

Tears Are In Your Eyes

The Race Is On Again (without YH)

Above the Sound

I Found A Reason w/ John Cameron Mitchell(Velvet Underground)

Waves of Fear w/ John Cameron Mitchell (Lou Reed)

Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Desert By Mistake (Jad Fair)

Out the Window

Styles of the Times

Tom Courtenay

Little Honda (The Hondells)


Wasn’t Born To Follow (Carole King/Gerry Goffin)

Cool Metro (David Johanson/Syl Sylvain)

Hanky Panky Nohow (John Cale) (without YH & NC)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Fifth Night:

Well, all I can say is I was trying to do pain management, I knew I couldn't do another full night on my feet so arrived during Low's set and sat out Fred Armisen downstairs just listening.

BrooklynVegan write-up


Surfin’ With the Shah (The Urinals)

Five-Cornered Drone (Crispy Duck)


Detouring America With Horns

Center of Gravity

Black Flowers

Fog Over Frisco

Don’t Have To Be So Sad

Nowhere Near

Baby Strange (T-Rex)

I Should Have Known Better

Big Day Coming (fast version)



The Story of Yo La Tango


Sorrow (The McCoys)

Orange Song (Antietam) (with Tara Key on guitar/vocals)

(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais (The Clash) (FA on guitar/vocals, Joe Puleo on harmonica)

I Am, I Said (Neil Diamond) (with Alan Sparhawk & Mimi Parker of Low on guitar/vocals)

Keep It Warm (Flo & Eddie) (with AS & MP)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Sixth Night:

Best night to this point thanks to context of hot pot dinner with friends at 99 Favor and having one of  them join me for the first time in the run. My buddy and I struggled with the opening act but, mercifully, they were more enjoyable when they played with YLT during the main set. This was the night I splurged on merch grabbing the soup can t-shirt and Ira's mix tape.

BrooklynVegan write-up

SETLIST: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 12/3/2021 (Hanukkah Night 6)

Cherry Chapstick

Nothing To Hide

She May, She Might 

Ack Ack Ack Ack (The Urinals) 

She May, She Might

Pablo and Andrea

Have You Seen My Baby (Randy Newman)

Tired Hippo

I’m On My Way

I’ll Be Around

As the Hour Grows Late (with Jaimie Branch/trumpet, Jason Ajemian/bass, Lester St. Louis/cello)

Let’s Be Still (with JB/JA/LSL)

The Summer (with JB/JA/LSL)

Moby Octopad (with JB/JA/LSL)

Right Side of My Mind (Angry Samoans)

From A Motel 6

Mushroom Cloud of Hiss

*(encore)* with the Dream Syndicate

Definitely Clean (Dream Syndicate)

Too Little, Too Late (Dream Syndicate) (without Ira & James)

Hero Takes A Fall (The Bangles)

Some Kinda Itch (Dream Syndicate)

Tell Me When It’s Over (Dream Syndicate)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Seventh Night: 

Natural Information Society were punishing. Show was great once done with them. Figures this was the night I had a group of friends with me and wanted them to have the best experience possible. Oh well, rest of the show was great at least. Jon Langford and Sally Timms were the rumored possible guests I was most hoping to see; even in my debilitated barely able to stand condition I hopped up and down and hooted when they came out. One could quibble with Ira about setlist & doubling down on Dan Dare – Out of Space (It’s A Really Nice Place) rather than hitting some other Mekons or Timms classic but that's just nitpicking, I suppose. 

SETLIST: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 12/4/2021 (Hanukkah Night 7)

Green Arrow (with Natural Information Society)

I Can’t Stand It (Velvet Underground)

Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House

Mr. Tough

Did I Tell You

Is That Enough

Swing For Life (with Natural Information Society)

The Last Days of Disco (with Natural Information Society)

The Room Got Heavy (with Natural Information Society)

False Alarm

Too Animalistic (Angry Samoans) (with Dutch Worthington)

Drug Test

Upside Down

We’re An American Band

Blue Ling Swinger


I Threw It All Away (Bob Dylan)

I Don’t Care (The Ramones) (with Jon Langford & Sally Timms)

Dan Dare – Out of Space (It’s A Really Nice Place) (The Mekons) (with JL & ST)

Keep on Hoppin’ (The Mekons) (with JL & ST)

Dan Dare – Out of Space (It’s A Really Nice Place) (The Mekons) [take 2] (with JL & ST)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Eighth Night:

Final night. Eleventh Dream Day opened and Joe Pera was hilarious. (Started checking out his show on Adult Swim after getting home. It's not exactly what I expected based on this act but it's growing on me.) This may have been the strongest YLT set of the run? I don't want to get in the business of ranking them, and the night with Sugar Cube and Ohm might have been the pinnacle, but I was riding so high and had such a great time, the fact it was coming to an end had me trying to really soak it in as much as possible. 

BrooklynVegan write-up

SETLIST: Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 12/5/2021 (Hanukkah Night 8)

From Me To You (The Beatles, sung as “From Me to Jews”)

Today Is The Day (slow version) (with Janet Beveridge Bean/drums, Mark Greenberg/keyboards, James Elkington/guitar, Doug McCombs/bass)

Stockholm Sydrome (with Rick Rizzo/guitar, JBB, MG, DM)

The Crying of Lot G (with JE, DM, JBB, MG)

Avalon or Someone Similar (with RR, JBB, MG, DM)

Season of the Shark (with JE, JBB)

Two Trains (with JE, JBB, DM)

When It’s Dark (with JE, JBB, DM, MG)

Goin’ Back (Carole King & Gerry Goffin) (with JE, RR, JBB, MG)

Group Grope (The Fugs) (with JE, RR, JBB, MG, DM)

Some Kinda Fatigue (with RR, JB)

Autumn Sweater

Deeper Into Movies (with JB)

Sister Ray (with MG, RR, JB, DM)

Our Way To Fall


The Whole of the Law (The Only Ones)

Dum Dum (Bush Tetras) (with Cynthia Sley and Pat Place)

Run Run Run (Velvet Underground (with CS & PP)

Too Many Creeps (Bush Tetras) (with CS & PP)

Here Comes My Baby (Cat Stevens) (with Marilyn Kaplan/vocals & Mark Luecke/whistling)

My Little Corner of the World (Bob Hilliard, Lee Pockriss) (with MK)

[If reposting, kindly credit Frank & Earthy: http://www.jessejarnow.com/category/ylt / @bourgwick ]

Wish I'd been able to start going to these Hanukkah shows years ago. Great time, great band. So glad I finally got to see what I'd only had clips and downloads of from past years. Yo La Tengo fans, it was Mecca ... you should do it once in your life if you're able. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

RTD Redux

Legit confused and not sure how I feel about RTD returning to Who.

Never stopped watching even though the weird pro-Amazon episode basically killed my will to keep writing about it. Jodie is great but Chibnall has been an almost entirely unmitigated disaster. 

This news doesn't change the fact I was going to keep watching every new episode anyways. However, if I were going to go back and re-write my early reviews of his first run there's no avoiding the fact he ran a show where two recurring cast members were allowed to create a toxic environment that, in retrospect, probably explain why Chris Eccleston left and never looked back.

I guess the JMS campaign never really had a shot, and may not have been that great an idea anyways, but I'm curious if the BBC considered any showrunners who could've come in with a new approach -- without any baggage.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

This Jobs Guarantee Policy Debate Got Me Thinking

Compare and contrast with the presidential debates this past cycle. Now, imagine Biden and Trump even trying to participate in this particular debate with anything like even one useful idea.

That's blog post; what follows is a super high-level pie-in-the-sky daydreaming I don't have time right now to flesh out with supporting links or anything to tether the dream to an actionable program.

It looks, as I write this, that Biden will win the election and Trump's legal challenges are baseless, so the threat to the outcome is primarily the fascist mobs trying to prevent the counting of ballots. Assuming our broken society can follow the process we can indulge ourselves by starting to look ahead to what a Biden administration will actually do when it owns the pandemic response and economic crisis. 

Knowing that the Biden response will be a disaster, I'd like to think about what I would do in his shoes. The immediate, pressing need is to stop the bleeding and address our economic woes and so the debate between Matt and Mark that heads this post, I think, is a useful starting point for deciding what big, bold policy we could be starting with straightaway. A robust unemployment benefits program is where I would start. Matt's proposal makes the most sense to me, though I appreciate some of Mark's points and may be suffering from some lingering Protestant work ethic brainwashing.

Universal basic housing, basic income, M4A, and food/water security is where I'd go from there. Free public education should be expanded from K-12 to pre-K - 16. A massive infrastructure program to phase out the fossil fuel industry and replace our energy grid with a Green alternative (Green New Deal, but better) would essentially fill the role of the JG, without being a JG, and would go hand-in-hand with a program to nationalize the utilities and the banks. 

Further, a set of initiatives to modernize and democratize our government by undoing Citizens United, addressing the EC, fixing our antiquated election system, and packing the SCOTUS to make it possible to start the larger process of undoing the damage done by the GOP over the last decades also have to start immediately. Much of what needs to be done involves amending the Constitution, but a piecemeal process of patching fixing seems inadequate, so we're talking about the laying the groundwork for a new Constitutional Convention to wholesale repeal and replace. 

Now these aren't goals that could be accomplished by a president alone, nor could they be done to completion in a single term. But, these are the needful things, as I see it, and every action I'd take as president would be to make progress on those fronts as the first priorities. (It goes without saying, I hope, that there's much more to be done, not the least of which is ending our wars, but also a complete overhaul of our foreign policy and addressing the legacies of American imperialism from Puerto Rico to Guam, and beyond, and reparations for slavery and the genocide of the First Nations ... )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...