Saturday, December 30, 2006

Last minute grammar/language police

Spot the error:

That Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco will win and win big in the playoffs and finally shut us all up. Oh and that we in the media finally recognize that Doug Armstrong is a far better general manager having never played a game in then NHL then anyone who played but can't manage in today's business environment.

It's in the final sentence, the "then" should be a "than." This is one of my ultimate pet-peeve mistakes, and it was commmitted by my favorite hockey writer:'s (and former Buffalo News scribe) Jim Kelley. Or perhaps by the copy editor who looked at his column.

Dammit, I just found this one:

The Florida Panthers hereby resolve to stop being run like a Dick Chaney hunting party and make credibility, not chaos, their No.1 target. Oh and to free Oli Jokinen from the coaching shackles of Jacques Martin. Finding a way to explain why the four-to-eight week rehab for Todd Bertuzzi is in Week 13 is also on the agenda. Oh and an assistant GM will be onboard before season's end as well (Anybody in Florida got Mike Murphy's phone number?) We could go on, but then even the Internet isn't boundless.

Kill me now and believe me later:

That the St. Louis Blues will be patient not just with the team they have to deconstruct but with the fact that John Davidson knows more about media then he does about team building and that given time both will get to where they need to be.


Happy Almost New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

First resolution of 2007

This is the year I delve into the past musically ... Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, The Who, Bob Dylan, Motown's Girl Groups. NONE of those artists are in my CD collection, which numbers more than 400. That's a total travesty.

Btw, there are now two medical products I'd shill for ... Claritin and Icy HOT--this shit rules for lower back pain, though you do smell after application.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rain rain rain

I usually love the rain, especially since I live in a desert. And perhaps one of my all-time favorite sounds is rain on a rooftop. But I hate it tonight, because I want to skate tomorrow morning. Dammit.

Musical bio or How to talk to teens

Occasionally I'm asked how I relate to students or connect with them. I've honestly never really viewed that as a challenge of my job as an editor at a teen newspaper. I've always felt like the editing is the hard part and the layout. The teens ... they're a blast. But if I had to provide a hint it would be to be true to yourself. Teens are smart and they can tell when you're bullshitting them. I usually share with them my thoughts about music.

I created this playlist for a student with the goal of giving her insights into my musical tastes (ergo me) from high school, college and now. I also wanted to introduce her to some great music she might not have heard of. Since she has have struck me as someone with great instincts musically (based on our brief discussions) I wanted to help shape those. Some pithy comments follow the tracks.

Portions For Foxes -- Rilo Kiley -- This is my new fave band. They're the band that makes me feel about music the way I did in high school.

Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken -- Camera Obscura -- One of my fave songs from 06. A great little band from Scotland, where they make such fab music.

High And Dry -- Radiohead
Fake Plastic Trees -- Radiohead -- back to back, these are the saddest songs ever. I'm usually about 1/3 chance of crying while listening to this album (The Bends)

Feed The Tree -- Belly -- a high school pick.

Drawn To The Rhythm -- Sarah McLachlan -- a high school pick. I was really into female artists in HS and Sarah was the first.

The Bleeding Heart Show -- The New Pornographers -- at 2:42 this song kicks into the greatest overdrive.

Born Of Frustration -- James -- a high school pick.

Reason Why -- Rachael Yamagata -- another artist I discovered really only b/c I live in Los Angeles now. I've seen her live 2.5 times. Once was a free show at Amoeba. I count those as half shows. She's amazing and really funny, too.

Poison Oak -- Bright Eyes -- From my fave album of 2005 (I'm Wide Awake It's Morning).

Heart and Soul -- T'Pau -- a song from my childhood. The band's name is a character from the original Star Trek series. It's fun 80 music.

Ageless Beauty -- Stars -- From my second fave album of 2005 (Set Yourself on Fire). Pretty great year that spawns two desert island CDs.

The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth -- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah -- they kind of break a lot of rules, the first of which being clear vocals that sound tonal. But wow are they energetic.

Birthday -- Sugarcubes -- HS mike. This is Bjork before she got really weird.

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic -- The Police -- My college marching band did a version of this song. Not nearly as good, though.

Pull Shapes -- Pipettes -- could a song BE any more fun? The English are quite fab at this music thing, eh?

Nightswimming -- Coldplay with Michael Stipe -- as Chris Martin of Coldplay says: the most beautiful song ever. Seeing REM perform this live (finally) at the Hollywood Bowl (not this version sadly) is one of the highlights of my concert experiences.

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart -- Wilco -- Amazing band. A band that seems to appeal to smart people/music snobs. Yeah, I'm a music snob. But I'm not saying anything about my intelligence.

Human -- The Pretenders -- theme song to my favorite prematurely canceled series, Cupid.

Across the Universe -- Fiona Apple -- Beatles re-imagined. It's never a bad time for them, right?

Pure -- The Lightning Seeds -- HS Mike.

From A Million Miles -- Single Gun Theory -- HS Mike. Heard this song on the radio once fell in love with it. This is how a pop band should incorporate world music sounds into their compositions. This is an obscure, now defunct, band from Australia. Even some people at Amoeba have never heard of them.

Under Pressure -- Queen and David Bowie -- Believe it or not, I have a friend who likes Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby, which samples this, more than this song. I am thinking of de-friending him.

Walkie Talkie Man -- Steriogram -- iPod commercial got me into this song.

Why Can't I Be You? -- The Cure -- junior high mike. I was a metalhead, thankfully I found The Cure.

No Man's Woman -- Sinead O'Connor -- This song appears in the Alias pilot. There's never been a better marriage between song and show, and I'm not even a Sinead fan.

I'm Gonna Soothe You -- Maria McKee -- Very underrated, rootsy and bluesy. This is a good rain song for me.

You Ought To Know -- The University of Arizona Marching and Pep Bands -- you said you like Alanis, so I thought I'd actually give you some of my college pep band. I am on this song, btw.

Least Complicated -- Indigo Girls -- the title says it all.

The Boy With The Arab Strap -- Belle & Sebastian -- the live perf of this at the Hollywood Bowl this summer was one of the concert highlights of my life, too. After seeimg them live, I bought three of their CDs on amazon.

A Million Tears -- Kasey Chambers -- one of the saddest songs ever. she's aussie. they also make great music.

Chicago -- Sufjan Stevens -- This album (Come of Feel the Illinoise) was rated Pitchfork's No. 1 album of 05. It's awesome. Btw, his name is pronounced (SOOF-yan). This is another artist who grants you immediate access into the music snob club. I mean that in a good way, as a card-carrying member. :)

Bad -- U2 -- there's no more emotional vocal than Bono singing this song about heroin addiction—not his own.

Red Dirt Girl -- Emmylou Harris -- This is COUNTRY music, not that stuff they played on the now-extinct KZLA.

Carbon Monoxide -- Regina Spektor -- She's Russian. The first time I saw her she was meek almost on stage and blown away seemingly that she had fans and that they knew her music. The third time I saw her she was encouraging singing along.

Political -- Spirit Of The West -- A band from Vancouver whose sound continues to evolve. They're awesome and I love this love song.

Wheat Kings -- The Tragically Hip -- Another Canadian band, this one from Toronto. Growing up near the Canadian border I was really lucky to be exposed to some amazinng stuff from up north.

Someone to Watch Over Me -- Ella Fitzgerald -- It's Ella. She's the best.

Hallelujah -- Brandi Carlile -- show stopper. Not just this perf either. She's unbelieveable live.

Sometimes Always -- The Jesus & Mary Chain -- HS mike song. The Cure rescued me from my metal head days and led me to music like this.

Just A Ride -- Jem -- Thank you KCRW!

If You Knew (Live) -- Jeff Buckley -- Check out our Jeff Buckley review on

From the Morning -- Nick Drake -- He died way too soon. We've also got an amazing review of him on, too.

Another For The Darkness -- Gemma Hayes -- She's Irish. Very beauitful voice and also very beautiful. Entertainment Weekly turned me on to her.

Daydream Believer -- The Monkees -- Some of my parents' music is awesome.

Mornings Eleven -- The Magic Numbers -- there are two brothers and sisters. Pretty cool, eh? Btw, they did a live version of Crazy in Love that knocked me out.

It's a Shame About Ray -- The Lemonheads -- HS Mike.

Here's Where The Story Ends -- The Sundays -- HS Mike, title is obvious, eh? Btw, this is one of the first altrock bands I liked. I was ahead of even the most trendy people at my school when it came to The Sundays. Sadly, they released only three albums.

Irony alert: I didn't include my favorite song on the list ... (so here's a lyric)

"They say California is a recipe for a black hole
I say I've got my best shoes on ...
ready to go ..."
--Rilo Kiley "Pictures of Success"

Monday, December 25, 2006

Pa rum pa pum pum

Though I did not watch It's a Wonderful Life this year, let it not be said that the spirit was not in me.


Friday, December 22, 2006

The Internet + YouTube has given me the greatest Xmas gift in the history of history

I've been to 67 concerts in my life, including the biggest names like U2, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Who, R.E.M., Coldplay, Radiohead; and at the coolest venues like The Troubadour and The Hollywood Bowl and the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall; and been really up close in tiny clubs to people like Nellie McKay, Rachael Yamagata and Amy Millan. And I even got to see Debbie join Rilo Kiley for Lost in Your Eyes, which is my single fave concert moment ever (fave band + first real musician crush = bliss). But I still wish I could have seen this one.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

If you hate tall things or just want to laugh

I've been way remiss in not passing along this highly amusing trailer for next summer's indie darling blockbuster. This guy (my good friend El D) is going places.

Why heroworship is unfulfilling + some wicked great writing

One of the best albums of the past few years is easily Arcade Fire's Funeral. The Montreal outfit's emotionally probing lyrics, multi-layered arrangements and five-alarm live show has jolted the rock scene with a vigor and urgency. And listen to them give interviews and they seem like class lads and lasses.

But then there's this instance of mis-speaking (er, writing) from the Arcade Fire Web site, as posted by lead singer Win ...

Hello everyone…
Our record is done and mastered!
It’s called Neon Bible
We have probably worked harder in the last 3 months then ( THIS SHOULD BE "THAN") in the rest of our lives combined, but we are all really proud of the results.

I can’t wait for you to hear it…
Intervention will be available for download sometime soon, with the profits going to Partners in Health’s inspiring mission to bring free health care to the people of Haiti.

merry Christmas



Dammit. I am still going to devour the Neon Bible and love it, but ...

Now for something completely different ...

I think talent might be the most attractive thing in another human being. I don't just mean attractive in the "Can I buy you drink/Been here long?" kinda way, but as in I prefer being the company of talented/intelligent people. And as a former newspaper reporter, dedicated reader of and writing teacher of students, I swoon for great writers. Recent discoveries of Molly Knight's blog and Whitney Pastorek's "Chart Flashback" column on make me realize that perhaps there is somone out there with good music taste and super snarky (who might even like sports in the case of Molly). Btw, I think I already found this person in Kirsten Dunst, but more on that in a future entry.

In the meantime, a sample of the amazing writing talents of Whitney Pastorek ...

4. ''Oh No,'' Commodores
I've listened to this song four times in a row now, and I never want it to end. This song is absolutely gorgeous. Those strings! That piano line! Lionel's voice, for once not dripping with cheese or all up in my face about how I have to dance right now! I wish I hadn't been 6 years old when it came out so that my superhot-and-sorta-dangerous boyfriend and I could have slow-danced to it in a 7-11 parking lot as it played over the radio in his truck. I wish it could have been the last song at my junior prom. I wish I were in danger of ever getting married, because then I could dance to it in a big floofy white dress. Alas, none of these things will ever come true. And thus, I must just sit here in my office, staring at the picture of George Clooney tacked to my wall, and cry some silent tears. Oh... no. That refrain, in all its harmonious glory, makes me melt. A

To read this whole column click here.

Marching band + Theoretical physics = ????

The nerdiest thing in the history of history right?

Click here to read about and watch the UC Berkeley marching re-enacting the Big Bang as conducted by UC Berkeley astrophysicist George Smoot. This clip was shown at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just when I think I'm, something pulls me back out -- ALSO, BEST SONGS OF 2006

Today, I swear to God I was going to blog blog blog about why Kirsten Dunst should perhaps be my wife, the worst concert fans ever, the worst airplane seat mates ever, being really old and way too old to use "party" as a verb, but then our Web site went to the string (theoretical physics reference) of hell. I spent most of my Monday (beginning around midnight) communicating with our hosts about how they fucked us.

So instead of reading and blogging, I was watching my computer waiting for it to boil. I didn't do laundry, didn't grocery shop (maybe i'll lose a few pounds this week), but did manage to see my favoritest Michiganer in the universe, buy her dinner and take her to the airport. Wow, she's got a nice life, eh? Joke, joke, joke. If any of you actually visit me in Los Angeles, I can promise similar treatment.

OK, gotta get some sleep and stuff for the battle begins again tomorrow. If I win perhaps I get to see Apocalypto or maybe I'll just start my Netflix membership.

Btw, check this out:

Arcade Fire-"Intervention"

It's guaranteed to blow your mind. If it wasn't officially going to be out next Feb. it would have likely made best of 2006. OK, it wouldn't have but only because I already did it and oh yeah, here that is:

1. Sukie In The Graveyard Belle and Sebastian The Life Pursuit
2. Headsfull Amy Millan Honey From The Tombs
3. Falling Slowly Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova The Swell Season
4. An Old Familiar Scene Elf Power Back to the Web
5. I Was Watching You Rosanne Cash Black Cadillac
6. Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken Camera Obscura Let's Get Out Of This Country
7. Pull Shapes Pipettes We Are The Pipettes -- I defy anyone to find a more fun song than this
8. Gold Lion Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones
9. I'm Not The Only One Asking Mindy Smith Long Island Shores
10. Dream Priscilla Ahn E.P. -- someone sign her now
11. When Jack Killed Mom Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins Live at the 9:30 Club 10.15.06 -- this is my favorite song of the year and ironically not from my fave album of the year, which was her album Rabbit Fur Coat
12. The Greatest Cat Power The Greatest
13. Summer In The City Regina Spektor Begin To Hope
14. Gray Room Damien Rice 9
15. To Go Home M. Ward Post-War -- Neko Case appears on this song and ergo this list
16. Not Ready To Make Nice Dixie Chicks Taking The Long Way
17. All The Way Down The Cake Sale The Cake Sale
18. Little Lover's So Polite Silversun Pickups Carnavas
19. Sister Jennifer O'Connor Over The Mountain, Across The Valley And Back To The Stars
20. Snakes on a Plane (Bring It) Cobra Starship, The Academy Is..., Gym Class Heroes, The Sounds, and The All-American Rejects Snakes on a Plane Soundtrack

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I love the Internet and my last name

Back when I wanted to be a rockstar (8th grade) I had definite plans to change my name. How many metal guitarists had such an "ethnic" sounding last name? My name of choice was going to be Vandezorn. A "V" and a "z," now that's metal. Well, many years later I don't even know how to play guitar, so I'm obviously not in a band. And also in the interim I've grown to appreciate my Sicilian last name. I rooted for the "Fricano" who ran for office in New York State and am always amused when I find another.

So here's the latest find ...

Fricano's Pizza in Western Michigan. They will deliver a frozen pie. I think I have to try this.

Season's greetings!

Friday, December 15, 2006

He buys, he scores!

Went to the Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks game Tuesday night at Staples Center. As Scott and I finished our free Domino's we walked by a souvenir stand. Scott took a quick peek at the lapel pins to see if any were worth adding to his collection. They had some decent ones but he passed. While he was assessing those I noticed the collection of team pucks and immediately looked for the Sabres, in part to note whether the new logo would still piss me off.

After a couple seconds, no Sabres. Huh? We're only the best team in the Eastern Conference and arguably best team in the league? And since this is L.A. I knew they weren't sold out of them. But then at the top (where they belong) I did find the Sabres ... it's just that it was the old logo. YAY!!

"Excuse me," I said to the sales associate. "Is that the Sabres puck that you're selling?"


"How much?"


(giddyness. It has become my mission to collect memorabilia with the non Barney Rubble-hairpiece logo.)

He crouches down to grab the puck from the case behind him. He hesitates when he opens the Rubbermaid-type container. I'm nervous, because I know that his stash has the new pucks. I wonder whether the display case puck will be for sale.

"We have different ones," he says as he turns and rises.

"Well, I want that one," I reply as I point to the one in the case. I can't imagine why it would be a problem, but still ...

"Sure thing. Same price."


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still got some 716 in me

That's the URL for a site about Buffalo architecture, check it out. The site's kind of amateurish but the content is kickass.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mike, you're barely alive ...

Too many concerts this week mean late nights and no energy to blog. Coming up (i hope), worst concert goers, worst part of flying, needy fock fans, too old for tequila shots, how close is too close at a concert, is Kirsten Dunst the girl for me?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shoot me now

I just spent part of my work day reading career advice for Britney Spears. I apologize a thousand times over to my students.

I suck.

I confessed to my best friend ever that I had done this and asked her to shoot. She told me: "I don't know. but I'm sure it caused you pain. It was kind of funny."

Horrifyingly, I agreed it was kinda funny. The admission of that has made me feel even worse. I could so do this for the rest of my life.

Ho-Ho-HoOH MY GOD you pissed on me

From Reuters news service:

A third of all Santas reported having been wet on by a child, the survey said.

Merry fucking Christmas!