Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Threshings

Here's a couple quick hits for all you late in the day blog readers (bleaders?).

First, naturally, the Wizards torched the Knicks 113-102 and tied a team record for three-pointers (14) in the process. Most of the damage was done by Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison, who had 38 and 33 points, respectively. It was a remarkable contrast to the last time the Wiz played the Knicks and missed all 14 of their three-point attempts, another record. Perhaps Gilbert was motivated by the unveiling of his new signature shoe from Adidas, the Gil Zero. For more (much, much more) on that event, check out Big Stein's Bog (
Link 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Yep, that's right six links. Big Stein really rocked the keyboard yesterday. One fact that you will not find in all that material about the new Gil Zero shoe is that I will never own a pair, at least not until they come way down from the $90 retail price.

Have you seen the
Lexus commercial where the car parallel parks itself? Would you like to know if this really works? Or if the fine print actually says "Professional Driver, closed course?" The Baltimore Sun assigned its trusty, crusty columnist Kevin Cowherd to the the task, and he penned an amusing review. In finding the link for the commercial I learned that BMW has a car with the same techniology, just no cool commercial. You can also find amateurs' tests on YouTube. And there are lots of other reviews and articles about the Lexus, but I am going with my boy KC.

Not that anyone asked, but, my blogging soundtrack today is a pair of CD's: The White Stripes' "Get Behind Me Satan" and "Dreamin' My Dreams" by Patty Loveless. It's a bit of a change from the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy compilations that have been bouncing out of the speakers in my car (quite an education for the kids on those discs), but I am enjoying both.

The Loveless CD is exactly what I expected, an easy listen with charming versions of singles that are not what you would call standards but are generally better known as rendered by other artists. The best cut of these is the duet with Dwight Yoakam on "Never Ending Song of Love," which was written by Delaney Bramlett and originally recorded in 1971 by Bramlett and his wife Bonnie. I've been a fan of both Yoakam and Loveless for 20 years and only today did I learn that they were born less than three months apart in the town of Pikeville, Kentucky, population 6,295 (FitzFact! Well actually Wikipedia, but I'd say it meets the qualifications). That's either a remarkable coincidence or a tribute to the Pikeville School District's musical curriculum for including such unique course offererings as Plaintive, Haunting Ballads 101 and Advanced Infectious Chorus Hollerin'.

The title track is of course a cover of the late, great Waylon Jennings hit, and Loveless also does good work with Steve Earle's "My Old Friend the Blues" and Delbert McClinton's "Same Kind of Crazy." And any singer (or producer) wise enough to include Emmylou Harris on background vocals has earned my vote, or at least enough of my time to give a listen.

"Satan" was my second shot at the White Stripes, after being thoroughly unimpressed with Jack White's production of Loretta Lynn on the critically acclaimed "Van Lear Rose." I like this album much better although there are a few clunkers. The piano riffs, muffled drums and fuzzy guitar licks throughout are engaging. Top song has to go to "My Doorbell," where Jack White's amusingly randy vocal recalls Janis Joplin. The song is more suggestive than explicit (and certainly less so than the Chuck D and Ad-Rock lyrics I had been hearing), but I don't think they would have been allowed to sing it on the Ed Sullivan show. The White Stripes have received a great deal of hype outside of their music, but I don't care if they are brother and sister (they're not), married (they were), or never perform wearing clothes that are not black, white or red. This album sounds like a keeper to me.

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