I was reading the comments to this post by Matt about covers and I had a few comments. First, a distaste for covers is mostly a rock music thing. The jazz greats all performed other people's songs, in fact rarely writing their own. Country music also has a clear line between songwriters in Nashville and singers. And classical musicians are almost always performing pieces written by someone else. It is really only a rock problem, and I think it stems from problems within the Rockist school of thought. The fact that rock music is the only discipline that has a problem with covering songs is particularly amusing given that just about all of the great rock stars started out playing covers. Check out the track listings on the first two Beatles albums for example. Both are about half covers.

But the real reason that I wanted to mention Yglesias's post is because someone brought up Rush in the comment sections, and nothing irritates me more than anything vaguely complementary about Rush. I really, really hate Rush. The problem with Rush is that anytime anyone praises them it always starts with the fact that they are very talented musicians. This is undeniably true, the guys can play. I remember looking at sheet music for "Limelight" and being impressed with the complexity. I remember thinking "This would take a while to learn." The problem with Rush is that my next thought was "Why would I was so much time to learn such a crappy irritating song?"

With Rush, the song takes a backseat to the virtuosity and that is why I really hate cannot stand the band. Just take a look at the picture of Neil Peart's drum set for example*. I am sorry, but no one needs that many drums. Each Rush song is an exercise in showing off how talented the musicians are rather than writing a good song. Also, Geddy Lee's voice makes me want to stab flaming q-tips in my ear.

The thing is that I love really talented musicians. Unlike some early punks, I think virtuosity is something that every musician should strive for, as long as the skill is secondary to the song. To show you what I mean I am including a YouTube video of Victor Wooten playing "Norwegian Wood" by the Beatles, a cover mind you. Victor just might be the most talented electric bass player of all time. I think of him as the Jimi Hendrix of the bass. Saw Victor play before I had ever even heard of him, and I spent the duration of the concert completely blown away. The man is jaw droppingly brilliant. But if you notice, his talent is there to serve the song, not outshine it.

If you need more proof, or just want to waste the day on YouTube, also check out his version of "Amazing Grace" here.

*For some reason the whole image is not showing up, but I think you get the idea from what is there. The man has drums completely surrounding him. The fact that he learned how to play drums behind him perfectly explains everything that is wrong with Rush.


I am not sure what happened, but it feels like working too damn much has finally caught up with me. When I was at the restaurant on Monday, I just hit a wall and I have been out of it since. Also, still no Wii and I am not very happy about that. But Thanksgiving is coming and I won't be working at the restaurant for at least a week so everything is fine. Also, The Hold Steady this weekend and I am looking forward to that.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, mainly because it involves sitting around drinking and seeing my family without the pressure of having to buy them anything.

The real reason for this post is that I wanted to pass along this video of Earl Scruggs and Friends performing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the David Letterman Show. It is a pretty amazing collection of talent on that stage.

I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving.


A Suspicous Mind...

I just became eligible for my company's 401k plan. Part of the paperwork involves designating a beneficiary for my meager savings. As I am unmarried, this creates something of a dilemma. An obvious choice right now is to name one of my parents as my beneficiary, but that only creates more problems. Which of my parents is less likely to kill me for the contents of my IRA plan? My father just got a new 50 inch HDTV, so I think he is probably the safer bet. I could name my sister, but then I would need to hire a food taster with every new fashion season. Tommy is clearly out, he probably already has a list of computer crap that he needs right now and also has the most opportunity. Hell, I am ready to designate the first person who can put a Nintendo Wii in my hands either tonight or tomorrow.



I am a big food network fan. Not for recipes, but mainly for discussing the personal lives of the chefs on the network. Take Ina Garten for example; she is clearly trapped in a loveless marriage and is trying to use food to win her husband back.

I have developed pretty strong opinion on most of the hosts. Most of them center around (see Sandra Lee who drives me completely insane) hate. I also cannot stand Rachel Ray. I am convinced that she spends all of her time off camera crying. Something has to balance out all the happiness and perkiness, because no one is that happy. That is why it made me smile when I read this today. When Anthony Bourdain was asked about the pros and cons of the food network he cited Rachel's show as a con and added:

“What's it, $30 a Day?” Bourdain asked. When reminded that Ray's program is titled $40 a Day, the celebrity chef shot back:

“$40 a day? Try tipping, bitch.”
This is all to say that Anthony Bourdain is awesome. According to Wikipedia, playing Billy Joel in his kitchen was grounds for firing. His show "No Reservations" is pretty great as well, and he has done a lot of drugs! Also, Les Halles has the best french fries in the District.


I thought that I would pass this video along. It is a video of an exhibition fight that took place at my boxing gym a few weeks ago. The two guys having been training at the gym for a while, and the ref owns and runs the place. A quick note to my mother, I have not done this and you don't need to worry.


The Four Elephants...

Because I regularly attend church and all of my friends are godless heathens who revel in sin and depravity, it is my job to sneak them into heaven. I like to them as my +s on the evite to Heaven, they won't know anyone there and don't belong but they will drink all of the booze anyway. Anyway, I don't know if you guys have looked outside recently, but it is kind of a theme party so you all better but your best "I love Jesus" outfits on.

Thanks to Tommy for the photo, and Kriston for being himself.


These Are Your Rights...

I have to admit that I like Anthony Williams. Despite his various failings, he will leave the District better off than when he took over and I think that he should be applauded for that. That said, I also agree with Mark Plotkin. When asked in his chat yesterday what Mayor Williams's biggest failure was he answered:
"Never challenged our colonial status. We still don't have a vote in the House or Senate. All our laws can be overturned by Congress. We don't pick our own judges or prosecuting attorney. More than anything, the Mayor sitting in the box at the State of the Union year after year, he reminded me of a potted plant."
That is why it is nice to see Fenty write this in today's Post. Fenty also refuses to sit in the box at the State of the Union until the District gets voting rights. Sure that is mainly symbolic and will probably go unnoticed, but it is better than Williams ever did.

Also, I wanted to highlight this brilliant exchange from President Bush's November 8 press conference, the Post's Michael Fletcher is asking the questions:
Q Thank you, sir. There's a bill that could come before the lame-duck session of Congress, that would extend voting rights to the District of Columbia, in Congress, and also give an extra seat to Utah. You've been passionate about democracy in Iraq. Why not here in D.C., and would you support this bill?

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't -- it's the first I've heard of it. I didn't know that's going to come up from the lame duck.

Q -- Congressman Davis's bill.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, it may or may not come up. I'm trying to get the Indian deal done, the Vietnam deal done, and the budgets done. But I'll take a look at it. It's the first I've heard of it. Thanks.
Others have noted that Bush was lying about this answer and has heard of the bill before. Mark Plotkin claims that Bush has been briefed on the bill by Congressman Davis himself.

It is really shameful that residents of the District do not have representation in Congress. If you have a representative, please call them and urge them to support Congressman Davis's bill. You can go to DCVote for more information.


A Thought After Veterans Day...

Don't you think that members of 'THE GREATEST GENERATION" should tip more than 10% or else be forced to lose their title?

Fight for Old D.C.!

It is important to remember when watching the Redskins this year that the whole NFL is out to get us. Not just the teams, but the officials and the league office all the way up to Roger Goodell are trying to take the Redskins down. It is also important to remember that I am a sore loser.

One of my favorite theories was put forth on the radio by Sam Huff. The Arizona Cardinals were once members of the NFC East with the Redskins. Then in 2002 the league moved them to NFC West. As everyone knows, the Cardinals are not the best team in the league. One may think that the move had to do with "geography" when in reality is was an elaborate plot to take away 2 wins from the Redskins each year.

This year, the league got really sneaky and screwed the Redskins using the black art of scheduling. Jason La Canfora outlines the dastardly plot here, but the gist is that the Redskins are one of only 4 teams to play a team after its bye week 3 times. What is worse, the Redskins are callously forced to play all of these teams away, and two of those teams are division rivals! I ask you, what chance do the forces of good and truth have when faced with such unconscionable evil?

Also, and I might not be remembering this correctly, but I am pretty sure that Paul Tagliabue put a gun to Joe Gibbs head and made him sign and play Mark Brunell.


At least this keeps him off of the field...

Like many, I am excited about the Democratic victory yesterday. But I must admit that my excitement is tempered by the fact that Heath Shuler is returning to Washington. While Ezra makes some good points, the young and Californian Mr. Klein completely overlooks the fact that Mr. Shuler went 4-15 in games that he played for the Redskins. Frankly, I think that we have already reached our limit of sub-standard quarterbacks in this city. Stop Shuler has a good rundown here, but my favorite quote is:

"After going back and forth with Gus Frerotte in 1994 & 1995, he lost the job permanently in 1996 season, and took only one snap that year. The result of that play? A fumble."
Keep in mind that Shuler lost his job to a guy that went on to knock himself out of a game by head butting a stadium wall*. The upside is that Shuler's victory game Keith Olberman the line of the night.
Chris Matthews: ...and in North Carolina, challenger Heath Schuler completes his upset of incumbent Charles Taylor.

Keith Olberman: At least he completed something.
*It is a crime that Frerotte's head butt is not on YouTube. I am far enough removed from the event to be able to laugh about it now.