Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Enjoying the Cardinal

KERSTIN led the way along a new route for our morning walk.
We twisted and turned up hills and down side streets, looking out from bluffs affording views of a pink-and-orange sunrise.
Listening to REX LAWSON seemed like a perfect fit.
Known as "Cardinal Rex," Lawson was one of the legendary musical performers of NIGERIA.
A vocalist and trumpeter, he led the Mayors Dance Band throughout the 1960s.
Lawson was an Ijaw, the group of people from Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states within the Niger Delta, but his music united all Nigerians, especially on the dance floor.
I've got a Lawson compilation that includes "Jolly Papa" and "Love Adure," probably his most popular songs.
Lawson probably would have reigned Africa's musical landscape for years, but he died in a 1971 a car accident on his way to play a show in Warri, Nigeria.
I loved hearing his propulsive, catchy music this morning, as the chilled air woke me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Member, Rock Facial Hair Hall of Fame

I don't see how DOUG MARTSCH does it.
I don't mean how the BUILT TO SPILL front man writes such catchy songs, or how he makes DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE seem so irrelevant. I don't even mean how he signed to a major label like Warner Bros. and continued to wield such creative control.
No, I just don't see how Martsch can let his BEARD grow so thick and long
Not many people can sustain the GARTH HUDSON (out of The Band) look, and as an occasional beard wearer myself, I can tell you why:
Thick and heavy beards become UNBEARABLY HOT. Food gets caught in there, too. It always drives me crazy. I hate it.
I love Built to Spill, though. I am listening to the album "KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET" now while sipping coffee and waiting to wake up the rest of the family so they can prepare for school and work.
I would place Martsch in a mythical ROCK FACIAL HAIR HALL OF FAME, along with the two guys out of ZZ TOP, DAVID CROSBY, PIGPEN out of the GRATEFUL DEAD and of course Garth, among a few others.
I still don't know how Martsch keeps his beard so thick, though. I just couldn't do it!

Monday, April 28, 2008

"The Manpower!!!"

There's so much to like about the TOHOKU RAKUTEN GOLDEN EAGLES:
* The expansion team have performed as Japan's "lovable losers" during their first three seasons, losing 97 games in their inaugural season, 2005. The team was created to fill a void caused by the merger of the Orix Blue Wave and the Kintetsu Buffaloes, which left only five teams in the PACIFIC LEAGUE.

* They play at KLEENEX STADIUM in Sendai, Japan.
* Their first "cheer song" was "THE MANPOWER!!!," performed by the all-girl group Morning Musume.
This season has opened with yet another reason to like the Golden Eagles -- they are actually winning games! At 16-13, the team are just a game-and-a-half behind the first-place SAITAMA SEIBU LIONS.
This past weekend, Domingo Guzman threw a two-hitter for his first shutout in five seasons as Rakuten beat the HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS, 4-0, for its fourth straight win.
"The Manpower" indeed!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Doesn't take a genius to figure out Simone's greatness

I am sitting here sipping coffee and marveling at the jaw-dropping talent of the late NINA SIMONE.
I woke up before anyone else -- I even beat the cats out of bed -- so I started the coffee and cued up a pair of Simone albums my step-father Bob gave me. The first is variously known as "Little Girl Blue" or "Jazz as Played at an Exclusive Side Street Club." Whatever you call it, this debut album by the soul/jazz/blues singer and exemplary pianist is excellent.

It kicks off with "Mood Indigo" and just keeps getting better from there.
I can't rave enough about this album.
The second album, "A Portrait of Nina Simone," is a live date that features a 12-minute version of the Simone classic "Sinnerman."
Simone also chats with the crowd, and her banter indicates she had a wonderful sense of humor to go along with that voice for the ages.
Suitably inspired, I think I am going to lay on some BILLIE HOLIDAY next. I also think I'm going to need to brew up another pot of coffee!
Oh by the way: I made that Einstein photo at You can make all sorts of funny photos at the site. Check it out here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Martin Biron's brilliance makes me frown

There are moments of brilliance that make you just shake your head in amazement or disbelief, or perhaps both.
I shook my head twice tonight because of such brilliance.
The first head-shaking brilliance made me frown: MARTIN BIRON made 34 saves -- many of them from point-blank range -- to deny Montréal as the FLYERS defeated LES CANADIENS, 4-2, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I was supporting the defeated Habs.
Biron was amazing, though, and Philadelphia deserved to win.
The second head-shaking brilliance made me smile: We were driving home from my father-in-law's house (where we watched the hockey game) and the JOHN COLTRANE solo from MILES DAVIS' "SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME" came fluttering out of the car stereo speakers.
Fluttering, because 'Trane's solo on that song has always reminded me of an aria of a songbird. It is so lyrical and beautiful, it makes me shake my head.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Toss another shrimp on the barbie... or not

Ahh... Spring... Birds serenade you each morning, leaves begin budding on the trees and people fire up their grills and toss food on the barbecue.
ROUTE 1 readers chime in this week on the wide variety of grilled foods (or they might all say "hot dogs," we'll have to read and find out) by answering this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What is your favorite food cooked on a grill?"
ELLEN B. -- Hamburger with a lil' salt and pepper and Swiss cheese!
MIKE M. -- Was ist das? Ach scheiße! Hast du ein Vogel im Kopf? Bratwurst mit brötchen und bier! Mein Gott!
MARY N.-P. -- Now, don't laugh -- zucchini rubbed in olive oil with a little garlic and light spices. I have to admit that we are the only people we know who do not own a grill and therefore do not cook on one. We do have a 50-year-old, hand-built, stone fire pit that we rarely cook something on.
JILL H. -- Steak rubbed with rosemary.
KERI M. -- Ostrich or soy burgers. Beef is good, too.
MIKE D. -- The humble hot dog, a.k.a. the frank, the tube steak, the wiener.
ROSEANNE H. -- This is a hard decision. Hmmm... salmon for sure. But ribs are so good, too. And I just tried grilling fresh pineapple. It is right up there and goes very well with both salmon and ribs.
RICK T. -- Ribeye steak!
DAVE B. -- Cheeseburgers and American fries.
LISA Y. -- The question may be easier to answer if it was what food do you not like on the grill! I like almost anything on the grill, but nothing beats sizzling fajitas meat -- chicken or steak! I think I'd better log off and head to the store.
ERIK H. -- Mmm... grilled salmon. Add some asparagus, tossed salad and French bread with butter... It doesn't get much better than that meal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The "Citizen Kane" of ridiculously inept films

If the mid-1950s were the "Golden Age" of ridiculously inept films, then the mid-1970s were the "Silver Age."
The Silver Age's "Citizen Kane" would surely be "DOLEMITE," starring RUDY RAY MOORE.
I craved a bit of mindless escapism last night, so watching "Dolemite" on DVD seemed like a perfect fit.
"Dolemite" is often pegged as one of those films that are "so bad they are great," but that description really doesn't do this film justice.
In one scene, the kung fu-fighting title character is speaking with the shuffling "Hamburger Pimp" in a medium shot. Not only is the boom mic visible peeking up from the bottom of the frame, but so is the earphone-wearing sound man's head!
Ridiculous ineptitude indeed!
There's plenty of action, though, and even an appearance by Sacramento, Calif., soul singer MARY LOVE.
The film is all good fun, if more than a little terrible.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Remember Paul Davis?

The PAUL DAVIS song "I GO CRAZY" rolled around in my head this morning, after I read about his death at age 60.
I didn't much care for the ubiquitous 1978 ballad at the time -- it seemed to play continually on the radio when I was 12 years old and desperately seeking more exotic music.
So, it was a bit of a surprise when I read of Davis' death and the song instantly started playing in my head:
"... just when I thought I was over you..."
Yes indeed, I clicked on iTunes and the song is in our iTunes library. It was included on an "Entertainment Tonight" compilation of greatest hits of 1978.
So, now I am listening to "I Go Crazy" as the girls prepare for school. It's not such a bad song, as long as it isn't constantly being played on the radio.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Damned if I can understand the reason why

I am listening to the mighty DAMNED this morning while reading Canadian press reports of last night's riot in MONTRÉAL.
Groups of rioting fans set fire to police cars, smashed store windows and looted local businesses after LES CANADIENS DE
MONTRÉAL defeated the Boston Bruins, 5-0, in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.
Les Canadiens have not really won anything yet -- the team remain 12 victories away from winning the Stanley Cup. Still, last night's victory celebrations in the streets turned ugly, with police arresting 16 people who face a number of charges -- including breaking and entering a business, armed assault on a police officer, mischief on a police vehicle, assault and various bylaw infractions.
It doesn't make much sense to me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What up witcha, Webster?

Yeah, that just doesn't sound right: "What up witcha, Webster?"
I can understand why Webster Gradney, Jr., decided to call himself "WEBBIE" when he decided to grab the mic and start MCing.
Kerstin wanted to hear some hip hop en route to her orthodontist appointment this morning, so we dialed up the iPod and found "INDEPENDENT" by WEBBIE (feat. LIL BOOSIE and LIL PHAT).
It's a great song, celebrating a woman strong enough to depend upon herself, with her own job, car and home. The video is great, too, highlighting the possibilities open to young women (prize-winning doctor, even president) who dare to dream. It's a far cry from the subject matter of other popular hip hop songs. (You can watch the video on YouTube by clicking here.)
Jill and I first heard Webbie and Lil Boosie (Torrence Hatch) while watching "HUSTLE & FLOW" in 2005. Their song "Swerve" is included on the soundtrack to the hip hop film.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cozy, soothing Sunday with... Motörhead

I woke up too early... it's foggy... my father-in-law's dog is barking... screw it! Put on some MOTÖRHEAD!
For as long as I can remember, LEMMY KILMISTER has been dishing out the hardest, most uncompromising ROCK on the planet. That he does so with a tremendous sense of humor has always made Motörhead one of my favorite bands.
Lemmy often simply cracks me up when I read his interviews.
When a misguided management type once told Lemmy and his mates to trim their hair in order to "reach a much broader audience," the
Motörhead main man said:
"That's it then. I guess we're not going to reach a much broader audience."
The Wave Magazine asked Lemmy in an interview last year if the "
ö" in the band's name meant Germans should pronounce it "Motuuuurhead."
"No they don't," Lemmy replied. "I only put it in there to look mean."
countless American bands have gotten rich ripping off their sound, Motörhead themselves have not reached the success they deserve over here. That's a shame.
Sweetness and light is great, but some days you just need a little
Motörhead to get you through.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two masters at work

I cheered for the Argentine while his goals kept plucky West Ham up last season.
This season, I can't stand it when his goals aid MANCHESTER UNITED as they march toward the Premier League title.
Tevev equalised in the 88th minute as the visiting league leaders drew, 1-1, at BLACKBURN today.
I watched the match live on Fox Soccer Channel.
Roque Santa Cruz scored for the home side in the 21st minute, giving Rovers a lead that threatened to blow the race for the title wide open.

It was not Rovers' day, however, and United's class came through in the end.
Earlier today, I read one of my favorite opening paragraphs -- from "RED WIND" by the masterful RAYMOND CHANDLER:
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."
I would love to be able to play football as well as Carlos Tevez and write as well as Raymond Chandler.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Give the bassist some!

Sure, the lead guitarist is cool and gets to strike all those poses on stage. But would the lead guitarist mean anything without the BASS PLAYER?
Oh well. ROUTE 1 readers will give the bassists some recognition this week by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"Who is your favorite bass player?"
GARY D. -- Of course, Bill Wyman. But, the only one that nears the pinnacle of bass players is the one and only, Mike Day. His method of bass playing cannot be described in mere words. And, sometimes he even played the same song the rest of the band was playing!
RICK T. -- The late Doyle Holly, one of the Buckaroos in Buck Owens' band, the Buckaroos.
STEVE M. -- John Entwistle.
MIKE D. -- As a former bass player in a rock band, there were a couple of bass licks that were challenging for me to play. One was Geddy Lee's "Tom Sawyer" and the other was "Detroit Rock City," courtesy of Gene Simmons. I also admired the work of Chris Squire (Yes) and John Entwistle (The Who). But my new favorite bass player is Marcus Miller, whose smooth, funky pop-and-slap jazz sound caught my ear during a performance on NPR last week. (Marcus Miller performs "Blast" in concert in the YouTube video available here).
MIKE M. -- Apparently, the instrument played by Weird Harold in Fat Albert's Junkyard Band, an old bed frame strung with wire, is a harp, not a bass. And the 80s metal band Deathtöngue, aka Billy and the Boingers, has rhythm tuba and lead tongue, but no bass. So I suppose Pig-Pen from Peanuts will suffice. Man, I love the way the dust flies when he's jammin'!

ERIK H. -- Louis Johnson wasn't called "Thunder Thumbs" for nothing. As one half of the Los Angeles duo the Brothers Johnson, he provided the unforgettable thumping bass on funky classics such as "Ain't We Funkin' Now" and "Stomp." Their cover of the Shuggie Otis tune "Strawberry Letter 23" is probably their best-known song these days. After the Brothers Johnson band ran its course, Louis Johnson played on numerous sessions, including those for Michael Jackson's landmark "Thriller" album.
My runner-up favorite bassist, Lawrence Donegan, did not display the same technical proficiency as Johnson. However, Donegan did become a witty author and journalist after playing with the Bluebells and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booth's story stands out from the crowd

CHARLES G. BOOTH could sure spin a good yarn.
I just finished reading Booth's "STAG PARTY," a hard-boiled detective story compiled in "THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF PULPS."
The tale featuring McFee of the Blue Shield Detective Agency first appeared in the pulp magazine "BLACK MASK" in November 1933.
It is a great story for when you're feeling down. I know, because I was feeling depressed last night and this story did a great job of diverting my attention.
Booth (1896-1949) was a better writer than many of the people who penned stories for the pulps.
He actually won an Academy Award for best original story for "The House on 92nd Street" from 1945. Booth was nominated for a Writers Guild award for "Fury at Furnace Creek" in 1948.
"Stag Party" is filled with violence and double-crosses and corrupt officials and a quick-thinking private detective -- all the elements you would expect from a hard-boiled story. Booth makes it seem fresh, though, and that makes his story stand out from the crowd.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A music video starring birds

Robins swooped from the ground to the trees, then followed us along our route.
Flocks turned and twisted overhead and vultures seemed to be practically playful as they glided high above the bluffs.
While listening to the trippy, jazzy "ENDTRODUCING" by DJ SHADOW on my iPod, this morning's walk with KERSTIN seemed like a massive MUSIC VIDEO STARRING BIRDS.
It was hard not to look at the skies while we walked: Pinks and oranges mingled with the deep blue of the retreating dawn.
DJ Shadow used multiple jazz samples in the creation of his 1996 instrumental hip hop masterpiece. The birds seemed to be dancing in the skies in time with the music.
Then, when we arrived back home, I pulled the ear buds out and the joyful chatter of the birds sounded like they were congratulating themselves on their performance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blues, birthday and bizarre

Sometimes you never know what you will see.
We saw a guy SHAVING HIS HEAD WHILE STANDING IN HIS FRONT YARD while Kerstin and I walked this morning. He was using an electric razor and he was already a bit of a skinhead, so it wasn't like he had a big head full of shaving cream or anything.
Still, it was a bit disconcerting.
Kerstin and I just stared at the ground and turned our attention to the music on our iPods.
I listened to the great MICK TAYLOR (pictured) and his memorable playing on "BLUES FROM LAUREL CANYON" by JOHN MAYALL.
It is a remarkable record.
When we arrived home, we cued up "BIRTHDAY" by THE BEATLES, the traditional Hogstrom birthday anthem.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Will he do it again?

I am listening to the OTTAWA SENATORS playing the PITTSBURGH PENGUINS in the Stanley Cup playoffs (the Pens have just scored two goals in the first 90 seconds of the third period for a 3-1 lead), but what I am really interested to learn is whether JOHN BOWKER will homer again tonight.
The rookie from Sacramento, Calif., became the first GIANTS player since the team moved to SAN FRANCISCO 50 years ago to homer in each of his first two Major League games.
I heard both of Bowker's round-trippers this weekend, listening to Giants games on KNBR (via
Bowker played at the Double-A levels of the minor leagues last season, and was supposed to play most of this season at Triple-A Fresno. However, injuries and (frankly) bad play convinced the Giants to bring the left-handed hitter up sooner rather than later.
I am going to listen to as much of the Giants game tonight as I can before I fall asleep. Bowker probably won't hit a home run in his third Major League game as well, but one of the great things about baseball is that you never really know what will happen next.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Champions de 24 Coupes Stanley

My late father was always a huge fan of LES CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL.
I thought about him last night, while watching a thrilling playoff victory for "Les Habitants" on television.
Alex Kovalev scored 2:30 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins.
I remember my dad loving the Habs for the style they played: Traditionally, a great skating, flowing style that avoided some of the no-brained thuggery of the other teams in the NHL.
My dad revered JEAN BELIVEAU, but also spoke highly of "BOOM BOOM" GEOFFRION and HENRI "POCKET ROCKET" RICHARD.
The latest Montréal team seems like one of the most promising in many seasons, with Kovalev, the Kostitsyn brothers (Andrei and Sergei) and the brilliant young goaltender Carey Price.
Brilliant young goaltender? Hmm... Ken Dryden? Patrick Roy?
"Le Bleu-Blanc-et-Rouge" always seem to do something magical with a brilliant young goaltender!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I think I need some pizza and Sonic Youth

I am not exactly hungover, but I am also not entirely operating at full capacity following the SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY we held for my wife JILL last night.
I think I need some pizza and SONIC YOUTH.
We didn't return home until 1:47 a.m., and of course the CATS woke me up at their customary 6 a.m. I slept fitfully again until 8:30, at which time I thought I might as well watch some live PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL. I am glad I did -- visiting FULHAM beat READING, 2-0, for the Cottagers' first away win in 34 attempts. Wow.
I still didn't feel quite right, though, so now I am munching on some pizza and listening to "DAYDREAM NATION" by SONIC YOUTH.
"The New Rolling Stone Album Guide" chronicles what makes this album such a triumph:
"The band tries something new with every track, stretching out for long, multidimensional instrumental passages of headphone-friendly guitar exploration that burst into noise ('Silver Rocket') or slow down for mood music ('Total Trash')."
It's a great way to recover from a surprise party, too, along with the pizza of course.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Curling up on the couch with a good... song

ROUTE 1 has had problems with its idioms all week.
We tried leading a horse to a hall-full glass, we saw the handwriting on the wrong side of the bed and now we are wondering how to curl up on the couch with a good song.
We are thankful, however, that we no longer have to run around like a sacred cow with its head cut off: ROUTE 1 readers have helped by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What would you listen to on cold and rainy day, curled up inside with a good book?"
KEN B. -- My sump pump running every 30 seconds.
KERI M. -- Bach.
SCOUT S. -- Coleman Hawkins records are always good for such events. I also go for Explosions in The Sky on rainy days -- it makes me feel like I'm part of something powerful and bright. But what would the book be?
STEVE M. -- "Coltrane Plays the Blues."
MIKE D. -- I heard a couple of good tunes on my rainy drive today. Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" is one of the best love songs ever. Its music and lyrics perfectly convey a sense of longing. The other was the instrumental theme to "The Mission," by the Henry Mancini Orchestra. It was the first time I recall hearing the somber and wistful tune, and was only able to identify it thanks to the DJ.
MIKE M. -- Book: Nicholson Baker's "Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, The End of Civilization." Music: "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" by Tiny Tim. Rain: Seeping into my basement.
ERIK H. -- The "Sonny Clark Trio" album by Sonny Clark. Blue Note records, 1957. Iconic cover by Reid Miles.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"I can take trouble or leave it alone; only I always take it"

With their taut writing and engaging plots, I have really enjoyed reading the stories collected in "THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF PULPS."
Paul Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Carroll John Daly are among the immortal, hard-boiled detective storytellers collected in this volume.
The pulps were the cheap magazines that flourished during the 1920s-40s, offering sordid tales to readers who only had movies, radio and the printed word for pop cultural entertainment.
I love reading the stories because they represent FILM-NOIR values liberally spread across the printed page.
Besides, with the weather we are currently enduring (39 degrees with wind-blown rain, at the time of this writing), there really is no greater balm than a night on the couch with a good book.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"If you're just joining us..."

I know it sounds strange, but after a hard day at work -- at a newspaper -- I came home to immerse myself in more news.
I couldn't help myself. Thousands of people converged on the Bay Area today, the only North American appearance of the OLYMPIC TORCH.
Tibetan supporters argued with Chinese supporters while officials re-routed the torch relay to avoid the riotous scenes that marked similar relays in London and Paris.
It's days like these that make me REALLY HOMESICK for the Bay Area.
Well, that and the fact that it's supposed to be 75 and sunny in SAN FRANCISCO this weekend but only 40 and rainy/snowy here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Nepal?" "Just north of India." "Asia!"

We're sitting around the kitchen table, listening to CATHERINE WHEEL while I help KERSTIN with her geography homework.
I consider Catherine Wheel one of the most underrated bands from the 1990s. They were labeled as "shoegazers," and when shoegazing fell out of favor, apparently so did Catherine Wheel.
I love their 1991 single "Black Metallic." It gained significant airplay on "modern rock radio" back when there was such a thing, and the song would stick in my head for days after I heard it.
Catherine Wheel is providing a fun soundtrack for geography homework, in which 12-year-old Kerstin must place countries within their proper continent. I am mostly steering Kerstin from her guesses to the correct answer.
Kerstin: "Peru... is in Europe!"
: "When did they move?"
Kerstin: "They're not in Europe? Asia?"
Me: "They speak Spanish there."
Kerstin: "South America!"

Monday, April 07, 2008

"On this platform with the drizzle in my eyes"

Not all spring days are bright and filled with sunshine.
Some are grey and wet and windy and lend themselves to listening to SAINT ETIENNE.
I listened to "SO TOUGH," the 1993 album by the English indie dance band while walking this blustery morning.
I especially love the song "HOBART PAVING," and I am apparently not alone: MOJO Magazine selected the 1993 single as one of "THE 50 GREATEST BRITISH TRACKS EVER" back in March 2006.
The editors credited Saint Etienne with "always uncovering romance and splendour in the overlooked and mundane."
"Hobart Paving emotively captured a comedown late-night homecoming, but the song took its title from a Croydon building company," the editors wrote.
"Hobart Paving" is such a beautiful song. It even makes grey mornings look good, which is quite an accomplishment.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Youthful energy and aggression

I am listening to "LET IT BE" by THE REPLACEMENTS this morning while recovering from the excitement of yesterday's trip to Milwaukee.
The Replacements have always seemed to me like a musical embodiment of youthful energy and aggression, especially on the pseudo-hardcore songs such as "Gary's Got a Boner."

The GIANTS were full of youthful energy and aggression yesterday, which wasn't always a good thing. BRIAN BOCOCK, for example, walked twice, singled and stole a pair of bases. However, the shortstop who has not played above Class A pulled a "boner" when he was picked off after one of the oldest (and least effective) tricks in the book.
Y'know when the pitcher fakes throwing one way, then fakes throwing the other in a usually fruitless bid to pick off one of multiple baserunners? That play never works, right? Wrong. The Brewers caught Bocock with that flimsy ruse yesterday, helping to snuff out a rally. Bocock was a little too aggressive.
I didn't manage to snap a photo of Bocock (despite sitting in ROW 5 behind home plate), so above is a photo of BENGIE MOLINA looking rather pensive -- a look the Giants and their fans will surely sport throughout the season. Oh yeah. Look to the far left of the photo. In the dugout with his hands in his pockets is none other than new Giants coach CARNEY LANSFORD. Cool! Maybe he can teach Bocock a thing or two?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Travel? Check! Seats? Check! Result? Uh... No.

Everything seemed so perfect during my trip to the BALLGAME today -- except the final score!
Sacramento, Calif., native MANNY PARRA (pictured) held the GIANTS hitless through five innings for his first major league victory as MILWAUKEE beat SAN FRANCISCO, 5-4.
My Brewers-loving father in law and I enjoyed a leisurely drive to Milwaukee for the game. When we arrived, I walked over to Will Call to retrieve the tickets and the ticket counter girl's eyes grew wide and she said:
"Those are great seats!"
She was right. We were in section 117, row 5. So? So that's the fifth row up from home plate!
Yikes! I don't even think I have ever sat that close for a Little League game, never mind a pro game. Wow.
Too bad the result didn't match the venue (from my perspective).
Ryan Braun and Gabe Kapler homered to lead the Brewers to the win. Ray Durham homered and Eugenio Velez tripled for my Giants, who fell to 1-4 in the early going (of what promises to be a lengthy and agonizing season).
Here's a weird tidbit from the game: Another Dubuque resident was sitting in the fourth row up from home plate, about three seats down from me! He was also a Giants fan, having lived in Redwood City, Calif. Weird...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Question, the Milestone Edition

ROUTE 1 celebrates its 1000th post this week with one of the most basic of FRIDAY QUESTIONS:
"What was your favorite song heard during the past week?"
MIKE D. -- I heard a couple of good Van Halen oldies this week ("Beautiful Girls" and "Jamie's Crying"), but my favorite song was Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Lovin' You."
DAVE B. -- The Call's "I Still Believe." I have not heard that song in years. A great song and band that never got the respect it deserved."
ANNIKA H. -- "Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna.
KERI M. -- I know it's not new, but... "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. It's my life song. I have a new one. This one is new new -- Robert Randolph & The Family Band's "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That."
CLINT A. -- REM's "Supernatural Superserious." I think it is super catchy without being annoying.
JIM S. -- Some of you might not believe this, but a new song by Duran Duran is really good. It's called "Falling Down." It sounds nothing like their days of "Hungry Like The Wolf" or "Rio." It reminds me of Maroon 5 or John Mayer, with a great guitar solo at the end. Check it out.
MARY N.-P. -- I actually didn't hear a single musical number this week due to a family crisis, but I did catch part of the Capitol Steps' April Fool's Day show on public radio and their parody songs were funnnnny.
RICK T. -- I heard an OLD song called "Rag Mop" on XM Radio 171, the Bill Mack Show. I hadn't heard it in years!
LISA Y. -- "The Things We Can and Cannot Keep" by Alli Rogers.
ERIK H. -- I was a bathroom Guy Chadwick this week, crooning like the lead singer of The House of Love to their UK indie classic "Shine On." I heard the song three times and it stuck in my head, causing me to sing it every time I washed my hair in the morning.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Shoegazing at dawn

White cat Mika just dumped a glass of water on Kerstin, waking her up.
I woke up in a much more pleasant fashion. After stumbling out of bed, I poured myself a cup of coffee, dialed up
"NOWHERE" by RIDE on iTunes and watched the sunrise.
Andy Bell, Mark Gardner, Loz Colbert and Steve Queralt defined the SHOEGAZING sound -- guitars awash in effects -- during the early 1990s. I played my cassette of their album "GOING BLANK AGAIN" so much it broke (a common occurrence for a music obsessive such as me).
In retrospect, I think the Oxford band's debut LP "NOWHERE" is the better album.
The distinctive shoegazing elements -- the droning vocals nearly lost in the echoing, distorted guitar sounds fresh. This album appeared before dozens of lesser bands took up the shoegazing cause, diluting the scene.
Classic tune "VAPOUR TRAIL" is playing right now.
The cats are running around the house. Apparently Mika dumping the water has triggered some sort of feline frenzy.
I'm going to put my headphones on again and listen to more Ride.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Have you ever known one of those people that becomes so passionate about the things they like that they can't seem to stop talking about them?
My sister certainly knows someone fitting that description -- she knows ME!
Back in early
2005, my sister INGER grew tired of receiving my lengthy, daily e-mails about African music, Japanese gangster films, obscure punk rock anniversaries and other topics that caught my fancy that day. She suggested I start a blog, reasoning that I was practically writing one to her anyway with every e-mail I sent.
Three years later, here we are: The 1,000th post on ROUTE 1.
Rather than take up too much of your time blabbing about
African music, Japanese gangster films, obscure punk rock anniversaries and other topics that caught my fancy today, I just want to use this post to THANK YOU FOR READING ROUTE 1.
Believe me, your support of this blog has saved a lot people from receiving far too many e-mails
about African music, Japanese gangster films, obscure punk rock anniversaries and other topics that caught my fancy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Au revoir, Jules

I was staggered last night by news of the death of JULES DASSIN at age 96.
Dassin made the archetype of the modern crime film, "The Naked City," then fled to Europe after being blacklisted in Hollywood.
It was in Europe that he made what many consider his masterpiece, the heist film "RIFIFI" with Jean Servais.
I watched "Rififi" again last night, for the sixth or seventh time. It really does come the closest to being the "perfect film," in my opinion.
Servais leads a small group of thieves who descend from the ceiling into a jewelry store for a stunning heist.
Their plans begin to unravel, thanks to a thoughtless act of kindness by the group's Italian safe cracker, played by Dassin (pictured) under the pseudonym Perlo Vita.
I usually watch the film gleefully riveted by Dassin's prodigious cinematic abilities.
Last night, I watched with some sadness over the loss of a filmmaker whose greatest glories were dimmed by the House Un-American Activities Committee.