Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Spine

I will not be around here for a while, most likely.

I will be playing here. Getting it set up the way I like it, pressing buttons, turning knobs.

Come and play with me. We'll be talking about books. The more, the merrier.

Kazakhs to "Borat": Suk It!

The Central Asian state's Foreign Ministry threatened Cohen with legal action last year after he hosted an international music show as Borat, who arrived in an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot clutching a vodka bottle.

His coarse jokes included portraying the world's ninth largest nation as a land where cow-punching is a sport and locals would first shoot a dog and then have a party.

In the forthcoming movie, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," Borat depicts Kazakhs as a nation of misogynists, racists and anti-Semites whose favorite drink is fermented horse urine.

The Kazakh authorities shut down Cohen's site, prompting a move to a new homepage,

Monday, October 09, 2006

Jim Thome: AL Comeback Player of the Year


Jim Thome Named AL Comeback Player of the Year

White Sox slugger Jim Thome is the American League recipient of the 2006 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award presented by Viagra.

Thome led wire-to-wire in the voting to win the award, re-establishing himself as one of the game's elite by hitting 42 home runs and driving in 109.

To read later:

Erlewine reviews the new Seger & Elton discs.

War Of The Album Covers

CBGB's Closing

(via Perez Hilton)

Final curtain at CBGB
Punk playpen's sendoff show due next week

For fans of CBGB, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" is no longer just the title of a tune by the Ramones.

A performance by punk pioneer and CBGB alumna Patti Smith next Sunday will be the final show at the legendary lower East Side music club before the doors close for good on Oct. 31.

The club is exiting stage left after 32 years, a victim of a rent dispute with the space's landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee, a not-for-profit homeless services agency.

And in the club's waning days, generations of fans are making their final pilgrimages to what some called "the music institution" at 315 Bowery.

"It may be small but it's a big staple in the city," said Rob Basso, 20, a sanitation worker from Westchester County, before attending his first show at the club. "There's a lot of history here."
Dori Sarcone, 33, said she has attended "hundreds of shows" at the club, and she lamented that now she will never be able to realize her dream of getting married on stage.

Harley Flanagan, 39, the heavily tattooed bassist for the hard-core band Cro-Mags, brought his 4-year-old son to CBGB for a recent show so he could experience the vibe.

"CBGB's changed the face of rock in New York City and gave countless bands opportunities they might never have had ... to be seen and heard ... at the palace of punk," the legendary rocker Lou Reed told the Daily News. "It will be sorely missed if it does in fact go into the ether of memories."

Since the club's opening in January 1974, the Ramones, Blondie, Television and the Talking Heads are just a few among the who's who of punk and new wave bands that squeezed through the narrow, dimly lit club on the way to the big time.

Not all of that history, however, is being left behind. Owner Hilly Kristal said he's negotiating to open up a CBGB in Las Vegas, as early as March.

For now, he'll open an office on Bond St. to keep the brand name - CBGB stands for Country, Bluegrass and Blues, the kinds of music Kristal originally intended to offer at the club - going through T-shirt sales.

Wherever the next CBGB ends up, Kristal said he's planning to take everything he can with him: the stage, the bar, the floorboards and assorted memorabilia. The scraps, he said, may be auctioned on eBay.

"We're going to take the urinals," Kristal said. "Joey [Ramone] went to the bathroom there. "We can charge admission," he said, laughing.

Kristal hasn't had much to joke about recently; the 75-year-old learned he had lung cancer in June.

"I'll be around for a few years. As long as I'm around" CBGB will continue in some form, he said.

The rent dispute began last year, when the Bowery Resident's Committee sent a notice that Kristal owed $91,000 in back rent. Kristal contended the bill stemmed from rent increases he was never told about. He said the terms to renew the lease were double or triple the $19,000 he paid per month.

A deal reached shortly after the lease expired on Aug. 31, 2005, allowed Kristal to stay in the club for 14 more months - in exchange for ending the court battle and attempts to turn the space into a historic landmark.

Representatives from the Bowery Residents' Committee did not return calls from The News seeking comment last week.

In the meantime, CBGB isn't going quietly.

Lyle Preslar, guitarist for Minor Threat, a seminal hard-core band that first played at CBGB in 1980, paid his respects by attending a show headlined by Fishbone.

The 43-year-old said he lamented the loss of a place where people who loved playing music could meet those who loved to listen to it. "I guess it's like a clubhouse," Preslar said. "Only it's much, much louder."

Originally published on October 7, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Frank Robinson Retrospective

Nice piece at Nationalsnation.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Colbert's Threat Down last night

Brought to my attention on myspace by someone who found me doing a search of Oscoda alumni.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Frank takes a bow today

For 51 years, there has always been a Frank Robinson in baseball.

Today is the last day for that:


Robinson's bio

Nationals season statistics

Major League standings

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals officially announced on Saturday afternoon that Frank Robinson will not be back as their manager in 2007. It comes two days after general manager Jim Bowden and team president Stan Kasten told Robinson of their decision in separate meetings.

Robinson will manage the final game against the Mets on Sunday and he said he will not seek another managerial job. It also could mean that Sunday could be Robinson's last day in Major League Baseball.

Robinson's contract expires on Oct. 31, and he waited for weeks to learn his fate. He was hoping to manage the Nationals for another three years, but a second-half collapse in 2005 -- after being in first place before the All-Star break -- and a subpar season in 2006 made him fall out of favor with the front office.

Robinson and Bowden were at the podium and both had tears welled in their eyes as their voices cracked with emotion. In fact, Bowden said it was the toughest decision he ever had to make in terms of relieving a manager of his duties. Robinson becomes the second Hall of Famer Bowden has dismissed. Tony Perez was the first in 1993.

"It's the most difficult because of who Frank Robinson is and what he means to the game of baseball, not just in Washington, not in Baltimore, not just in Cincinnati, for all of baseball. Frank represents playing the game the way it's supposed to be played," Bowden said.

Robinson is currently in his 51st season in baseball, 16 of them as a manager, and it has not been determined if Robinson will remain with the Nationals in some capacity. Bowden said the organization will talk to Robinson after the season.

"It has been a good ride for me. It has been 51 years. The old saying is, when you take a manager's job, you stay around long enough and you are going to be fired," Robinson said. "I have no bitter feelings about the situation. It has happened before and it would happen again if I was going to manage again. I never walk away from anything when I'm hired to do a job. I try to do the best I can, as long as I can."