Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sorry Beavers. Well, not really

As the above photo from the Oregonian shows, the OREGON STATE BEAVERS chased MY BELOVED OREGON DUCKS all over the field during tonight's 112th CIVIL WAR GAME, but could never really catch up.
Oregon amassed a school-record 693 yards of offense in derailing Oregon State's Rose Bowl hopes, 65-38, in Corvallis.
Jeremiah Masoli passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score as Oregon won in Corvallis for the first time since 1996 -- when we lived in Oregon.
We watched this year's Civil War on TV. As usual, I lived and/or died with every play (Jeremiah Johnson's 83-yard touchdown run falls into the "lived" category, Oregon's abysmal 13 penalties for 104 yards definitely falls into the "died" category).
Mostly, though, I will remember this highest scoring Civil War in history for Oregon making a number of big plays when they simply had to make big plays -- because the Beavers seemed capable of climbing back from their deficit until the game's end.
Actually, THE DANGED OL' BEAVERS can still make it to the Rose Bowl -- if UCLA happens to beat USC.
Hahahahahaha! Sorry... I just had to put that in there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

India's spirit shines in Bollywood classics

I am preparing for work this morning with the other members of my family either participating in predawn shopping or asleep -- or, in the case of my sister, back at her home after a 70-hour ordeal precipitated by the Bangkok airport takeover.
I am also marking the tragedy of MUMBAI by listening to my collection of BOLLYWOOD albums.
I have been an admirer of MOHAMMED RAFI for years -- his productivity and phrasing combine to make him an "Indian Frank Sinatra," I think -- and his music is helping me cope with reading and viewing reports of the recent carnage.
One song that always makes me smile is "Chura Liya Hai Tum Ne," a classic 1973 duet between Rafi and the astounding ASHA BHOSLE, composed by the legendary R.D. BURMAN.
Listening to these songs give me hope for the future, and in particular, the future of INDIA.
There is a spirit to these songs that seems ultimately stronger than any terrorist attack.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful today, but saddened, too

I am thankful that my sister INGER, stranded in ASIA, is stranded in a hotel with other Americans in TAIPEI, and not stranded in:
I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. India has always been one of the places toward the top of my list of places to visit -- home to Bollywood music, cricket and history.
I am thankful for family and friends, too. Heck, I'm even thankful for RORY THE OUTSIDE POTTY CHALLENGED PUPPY.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stuck inside of Taipei with the Manics blues again

I'm not really stuck in TAIPEI -- but my sister is stuck there.
She was supposed to fly from San Francisco to Laos, via Taipei and Bangkok, but protesters have closed Bangkok's international airport. The airline put my sister in a hotel overnight, casting the remainder of her trip in doubt.
While waiting for news from Asia, I have been listening to the MANIC STREET PREACHERS today.
The parents of Manic Street Preachers' guitarist RICHEY EDWARDS -- who disappeared in 1995 -- have been granted a court order declaring him to be presumed dead.
The court order brings closure to one of the saddest mysteries in music.
Edwards befriended Manics' bassist Nicky Wire at the University of Wales, Swansea, and became the band's lyricist and rhythm guitarist after initially serving as roadie and driver.
Critical and commercial success followed, but Edwards struggled with mental-health issues during the band's rise to fame.
He was scheduled to travel to the US on Feb. 1, 1995 for promotional duties, but never took the flight.
Authorities discovered Edwards' abandoned vehicle on Feb. 14, 1995 at a service station near the Severn Bridge, and it is widely assumed he leaped to his death.
On a day I am feeling blue about the Edwards' tragedy, I am also anxious for news from Taiwan.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Calexico: As good as my dog is goofy

I'm surprised Humane Society officials aren't banging on the door right now.
I just got two of the dirtiest looks I have ever received from two passers-by while I took RORY THE OUTSIDE POTTY CHALLENGED PUPPY for a brief walk during my lunch hour.
The looks resulted from the first, or outbound, leg of the walk: I practically had to drag the dog down the sidewalk.
What the outraged neighbors didn't see was the second, or inbound, leg of the walk: Rory practically pulled my arm out of its socket as she raced like a miniature thoroughbred to get back home.
Oh well, at least I could listen to some fine music.
I am listening to "FEAST OF WIRE," the 2003 album by Tucson, Ariz., band CALEXICO throughout the day.
It is a marvelous album in which every song sounds like it belongs on a film soundtrack. Calexico remind me of a latter-day version of The Band -- a rock group that taps into the American experience in part because they use non-traditional instruments to make rock music.
"Feast of Wire" abounds with Dobros, accordians, steel guitars, trumpets and other instruments that combine for a lush sound but don't distract from the great songs.
Too many albums are the equivalent of dragging your reluctant dog down the sidewalk. "Feast of Wire" is the aural equivalent of the goofy dog's race back home.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Waking nightmare in print

I just finished reading "MOMENTUM," a.k.a. "Murder Always Gathers Momentum," by the king of noir writers, CORNELL WOOLRICH.
First published in Detective Fiction Weekly on Dec. 14, 1940, the story concerns a debt-ridden man who almost accidentally commits a murder.
From that point, murder follows murder follows murder, as the police close in and the reluctant perpetrator staggers through a waking nightmare.
Sometimes called "the Hitchcock of the written word," Woolrich was uncanny in his ability to place his protagonists in the most nightmarish of situations.
The reader squirms as the character falls deeper and deeper into a cul-de-sac of trouble.
It's no surprise Woolrich's work made it onto film -- including the celebrated ALFRED HITCHCOCK classic, "Rear Window."
Woolrich's stories bristle with tension and the plot twists always leave me laughing at their audacity.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Stamps are champs

There are plenty of differences between Canadian football and its American cousin -- three downs instead of four, 12 men on offense and defense instead of 11, no fair catch rule, unlimited backfield motion and a single point awarded if the defensive team doesn't run a missed field goal out of the massive end zone.
I saw an important similarity at the end of tonight's 96th GREY CUP in Montréal: Grown men were crying as the stadium speakers blared "We Are the Champions."
Henry Burris threw for 328 yards and a touchdown as the CALGARY STAMPEDERS beat LES ALOUETTES DE MONTRÉAL, 22-14, to win the Grey Cup for the first time since 2001.
We watched the game live on the American sports network, Versus.
Sandro DeAngelis kicked field goals from 12, 21, 30 and 50 yards for the Stampeders.
The Als had been seeking their sixth title and their first since 2002.
The CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE'S outstanding player award winner, Anthony Calvillo, threw two fourth-quarter interceptions to halt Alouettes' drives, including one in the end zone as Montréal drove for the go-ahead score.
At the game's conclusion, red-coated mounties marched the Grey Cup onto the field.
As the Calgary players hoisted it over their heads, the differences between the two versions of football didn't seem so vast after all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Their school's logo can beat your school's logo

I spent last evening listening to a blowout in men's college basketball, feeling oddly proud for the efforts of the losing team.
Hunter Hayden scored a team-high eight points as the ACADEMY OF ART fell at the UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, 74-23.
The visiting URBAN KNIGHTS trailed, 45-9, at the half, but the score really wasn't all that important for a basketball team playing in only its third competitive game.
Based in downtown SAN FRANCISCO, the Academy of Art is playing an exploratory year of competition, hoping to gain Division II status in the NCAA.
If it gains Division II provisional status next year, the Academy of Art would be the only art school in the NCAA.
The school is 0-2 after last night's loss to the Dons, having fallen to Cal State Stanislaus (following an exhibition loss to San Francisco State), but coach Peter Thibeaux has said the team's record is not important.
Thibeaux, who played at St. Mary's in college and for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, has said the team's mission this season is to gain experience and credibility.
Hayden, last night's team top-scorer, stated an equally practical goal on the school's athletic department Web site (located here):
"Just being able to handle basketball and school. Being on the road and getting homework and (art) projects done."
I tuned in to last night's game because I like the U.S.F. Dons. I finished listening as a fan of the Urban Knights.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold weather comfort foods (and drinks)

We don't know about where you live (well, Keri, we can make an educated guess about Saskatoon), but it is C-O-L-D outside the ROUTE 1 compound this morning. The thermometer reads 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-11 Celsius) with a wind-chill reading closer to 3.
Perfect timing, then, for ROUTE 1 readers to answer the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What is your favorite food to eat on a cold day?"
RICK T. -- Grilled cheese sandwich.
ELLEN B. -- A big bowl of chili with lots of cheese and Fritos on top. Yummm!
INGER H. -- First, remind me what a "cold" day is? We've had an unseasonably warm fall, even by our standards. Yesterday, it was in the mid-70s. Funny to see people actually wearing coats and scarves, unable to reconcile the date with the weather. But, if I'm remembering right, cold weather makes me want to eat hearty soups like Butternut Squash and other comfort foods like Mac and Cheese.
BEKAH P. -- Chicken Fettucini Alfredo and hot-spiced cider. Yum! I love winter food.
MARY N.-P. -- To eat... or drink? We love to fix a steaming mug of hot chocolate (and I mean some good dark cocoa like Ghirardelli's) and add some peppermint schnapps -- Oh my, what a treat!
STEVE M. -- Chili.
ANNIKA H. -- Pizza.
ROSEANNE H. -- My homemade split pea with ham hocks soup along with some warm garlic sourdough French bread. Yum.
KERI M. -- Eat... anything warm. Drink... Campfire Hot Chocolate. This is a great winter beverage to make after a night of shoveling, or when getting back from Christmas shopping. The recipe makes about a 2-liter container: 2 cups Hot Chocolate mix, 1-1/2 cups Coffee Mate, 1-1/2 cups (white) Sugar, 1-1/2 cups Instant Coffee Mix, 1 tsp Cinnamon. Mix up to 3 tsp with 1 cup hot milk (or water, but I like milk). Top with whipped cream if desired.
MIKE M. -- Grilled brats and beer.
MIKE D. -- Mashed potatoes and gravy, as long as it's served with turkey and dressing, baked beans, corn, rolls, seven-later salad and a whole lot of family!
KERSTIN H. -- Remember, I get the broccoli and cheese soup and you get the other thing.
BRIAN M. -- Either chili or breakfast food, food that gets you ready to hibernate.
ERIK H. -- My first choice would be meatloaf and mashed potatoes, smothered in gravy. My second choice would be cheese and broccoli soup.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The story I couldn't put aside

I stayed up too late last night, and I lay the blame squarely on "THREE O'CLOCK" by CORNELL WOOLRICH.
Called "The Hitchcock of Noir Writing," Woolrich produced a real triumph with this 1938 short story -- first appearing in the Oct. 1 issue of Detective Fiction Weekly.
Not to give too much away, here is the basis of the tale:
A watchmaker suspects his wife is having an affair. He constructs a time bomb -- connected to an alarm clock -- set to blow up their home at 3 p.m., when she and the other man will be home and he will be in his shop.
He sneaks into his house while his wife is shopping to activate the bomb.
As he climbs the stairs from the basement to the kitchen, however, he surprises a pair of burglars.
They tie him, gag him and leave him in the basement -- to stare at the bomb and the ticking alarm clock.
This riveting story -- chock full of twists -- kept me up far too late last night.
Not that I'm complaining.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Focused on a classic

Try as I might, I can't seem to quit listening to "FOCUS," the jazz-with-strings collaboration of STAN GETZ and EDDIE SAUTER.
I have been listening to this 1961 album for two days now. I heard it frequently today, as I drove to various assignments.
I have heard other attempts to fuse classical music with jazz. Often, the results seem too "syrupy."
"Focus" doesn't belong in that category. More often than not, the strings propel the song along, and Getz blows his saxophone merrily along with the fast-paced violins.
"The legitimacy of the past 300 years and the soul of our modern times can be put together and be beautiful," Getz wrote in the original liner notes.
I heard that Getz never attempted to replicate "Focus" because a short time later the bossa nova craze he helped ignite was blazing across the country.
That's too bad. "Focus" contains timeless music that I never tire of hearing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"That’s the way you run a case lad, step by step"

Struggling with new software at work meant I wore a seemingly permanent scowl beginning about 2 p.m. today.
I am smiling now, though, because I just enjoyed a 60-year-old JULES DASSIN-directed masterpiece on DVD.
In "THE NAKED CITY," Det. Lt. Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) and Det. Jimmy Halloran (Dan Taylor) are NEW YORK CITY
homicide detectives working the case of a murdered model.
Dassin takes this rather routine story and focuses on the feet pounding the pavements, the crossing off lists of possible evidence and the chasing of false leads that punctuate actual police cases, making this film a touchstone for police procedural films for the decades that followed.
Modern police drama would not exist without this film.
"No, the picnic is over, you've told your last lie," Muldoon tells "person of interest" Frank Niles (Howard Duff) during an interrogation. "You're knee deep in stolen jewelry. You're involved the the Dexter Murder. You've been trying to obstruct justice all along the line. Now you're gonna tell me what I want to know or so help me if it's the last thing I do in this department, I'll get you twenty years. Now that's the truth Sonny Boy, and you know I'm not bluffing. Who's Henderson? Who's Henderson?"
"The Naked City" is also a wonderful snapshot of New York life, circa 1948, including sweaty subway rides, rope-skipping kids and immigrant factory workers.
I am going to watch "The Naked City" again, before it is due back at the library. Then, I might check it out again.
It's that good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's a shame about "Al"

I apologize in advance for this first bit sounding like a bad joke, but it was so COLD today -- how cold was it? -- the cords of my iPod's ear buds froze stiff as I walked through the wind from my wife's office to mine.
Luckily, I had "SEARCHING FOR THE YOUNG SOUL REBELS" by DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS to keep me (relatively) warm.
Well, warm in spirit, I suppose.
"Searching for the Young Soul Rebels" is by "SOUL BAND"-era Dexy's, before leader KEVIN ROWLAND discarded the band and moved in the Celtic pop direction exemplified by "Come on Eileen."
It is also the version of Dexy's featuring band co-founder and guitarist KEVIN "AL" ARCHER.
I thought about poor Al's story as I trudged through the wind to my office.
Legend has it, Archer used the name "Al" because Rowland decided the band was simply not big enough to accommodate two Kevins.
That story might not be true, but I think it is notable that Archer left Dexy's shortly after the release of "Searching for the Young Soul Rebels."
It's great music, though, packed with enough horns to make any soul revue proud.
It made me think I was warm while walking, too.
Still, it's a shame about "Al."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Woolrich and seven things that could add up to murder

I just finished reading "REAR WINDOW" by my favorite author, CORNELL WOOLRICH.
ALFRED HITCHCOCK based his famous film on the story, in which an immobile protagonist watches his neighbors' actions through his back window.
After watching one neighbor seemingly ignore his ill wife and later struggle with a trunk, the protagonist lists seven things that, for him, add up to a possible murder:
1. The lights were on all night the first night. 2. He came in later than usual the second night. 3. He left his hat on. 4. She didn't come out to greet him -- she hasn't appeared since the evening before the lights were on all night. 5. He took a drink after he finished packing her trunk. But he took three stiff drinks the next morning, immediately after her trunk went out. 6. He was inwardly disturbed and worried, yet superimposed upon this was an unnatural external concern about the surrounding rear windows that was off-key. 7. He slept in the living room, didn't go near the bedroom, during the night before the departure of the trunk.
The truth slowly begins to dawn on the protagonist and the reader (who can barely set the story aside as the plot unfolds).
Woolrich is a master of suspense -- just like Hitchcock. Too bad his name isn't as well known these days.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mind on the fire, not on the plunge

I work today and I cover a "POLAR PLUNGE" fundraising event for the Special Olympics, but that's not nearly as chilling as the news coming out of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA this morning.
Fed by nearly hurricane-force winds, a MASSIVE FIRE is descending from the hills toward the San Fernando Valley communities of Sylmar and Granada Hills, Calif. The flames have also closed I-5 at the Newhall Pass, severing the main north-south artery into the Los Angeles area.
Dozens of homes have already been lost, just days after more than 100 homes were destroyed in Santa Barbara County.
It will be difficult concentrating on people jumping into the cold Mississippi River, knowing that lives are changing a couple thousand miles to the west.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Question, singular? This looks like TWO questions!

ROUTE 1 readers are an inquisitive bunch, judging from the answers to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What musician (past or present) would you like to sit down and chat with?
What would you ask?"
BEKAH P. -- Madonna. And the one question I would ask her is, "What the heck were you thinking?"
BRIAN M. -- Robert Plant. Even if he's not keen on talking about Led Zeppelin, I'd love to talk to him about his love of early rock 'n' roll and R&B, what he was trying to do on his first solo albums in the 80s, and what his future musical ideas might be like. I've watched a number of interviews with him, and find him to be a great storyteller.

RICK T. -- Hoot Hester (fiddle player with the Grand Ole Opry's staff band). "Will you record with me?"
MARY N.-P. -- OK, so maybe a lot of people won't recognize him, but Patrick Hazell, of Washington, Iowa has often been called one of Iowa's founding bluesmen. He's a one-man band besides. He doesn't tour as much any more (except in Europe), but whenever he was in the area, we tried to catch his gig and on breaks he'd sit with us. We'd get into heated political discussions -- Pat's a very vocal Libertarian -- and he'd always go over his break time and have to be reminded to start playing again. I'd love to do that again.
ANNIKA H. -- McFly. "Why don't you come to America before you go to Greece?"
KERI M. -- I would like to chat with my brother-in-law, who is in Irish Plantation Orchestra, but it was boys' night supper at my parents' house, so I wasn't invited.
KERSTIN H. -- I would talk to George Harrison. I would ask, "What was it like being in The Beatles during their golden age?"
MIKE D. -- Mama Cass, and I'd ask, "Are you gonna finish that sandwich?" Just kidding!!! Probably Paul McCartney, and ask, "So, what was the deal with 'Ob-La-Di?'"
ERIK H. -- Robert Johnson. "Bob, what really happened down at the crossroads?"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Magnificent Cycle

I know. It's my mistake. I should have experienced it sooner.
Up until this morning, I had never watched the JOHN STURGES classic "THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN" from beginning to end. I had only seen bits and pieces.
I only hesitated because of my love for the film's inspiration -- the AKIRA KUROSAWA opus "SHICHININ NO SAMURAI (THE SEVEN SAMURAI)" -- a film I have watched at least a dozen times.
A budding FILM SNOB, I knew by heart the cycle of cinematic inspiration surrounding these movies: John Ford inspired Kurosawa, who in turn inspired Sturges and -- with "Yojimbo" -- Sergio Leone.
Watching the Sturges film today, I was surprised at how many scenes were simply lifted from "Shichinin no Samurai" and transplanted into "The Magnificent Seven." The stoic, lone gunman twirling a flower while waiting for his adversaries springs immediately to mind.
It was also interesting watching Horst Buchholz mirroring the Toshiro Mifune role from the previous film.
I still prefer "Shichinin no Samurai" -- this original boasts more emotional resonance, in my opinion -- and "Bad Day at Black Rock" remains my favorite Sturges film. Still, I am glad I finally came around and watched "The Magnificent Seven." I can appreciate the cycle of cinematic inspiration so much more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A song important enough for its own book?

Can you devote an entire book to a single song?
I am still trying to answer that question for myself, despite being more than half finished with "LIKE A ROLLING STONE: BOB DYLAN AT THE CROSSROADS" by GREIL MARCUS.
Obviously, Dylan's 1965 hit "Like a Rolling Stone" is an iconic song and a symbol both of the 1960s and the performer's transformation from a curly haired folkie to a sunglasses-wearing rocker.
Does it deserve an entire book?
Marcus does make a compelling case for the complexity of "Like a Rolling Stone," including the musical backing:
"The sound is so rich, the song never plays the same way twice. There are drums, piano, organ, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, tambourine and a voice. Though one instrument may catch you up, and you may decide to follow it, to attend only to the story it tells... every instrument shoots out a line that leads to another instrument, the organ to the guitar, the guitar to the voice, the voice to the drums, until nothing is discrete and each instrument is a passageway. You cannot make anything hold still."
Perhaps Marcus is correct -- perhaps this one song does deserve a book of its own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A great day for the Giants

I was hoping I would hear this news today.
TIM LINCECUM became the second SAN FRANCISCO GIANT to win the NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG AWARD for the league's top pitcher, the first Giant to win since Mike McCormick in 1967.

Known for his whirling motion and devastating strikeout totals, Lincecum claimed 23 of 32 first-place votes, seven second-place votes and one third-place vote.
Last season, Lincecum went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and led the majors with 265 strikeouts.
I waved my little Giants pennant at Cubs fans at work this afternoon. It was such a great day for the Giants!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Lions win the title

Hiroshi Hirao singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning last night as the SAITAMA SEIBU LIONS beat the YOMIURI GIANTS, 3-2, in Game 7 to win their first JAPAN SERIES crown in four years.
The national title was the 13th overall for the Lions, including three won by the franchise in far south Fukuoka, when the club was called the Nishitetsu Lions.
The Giants are sometimes called "the Yankees of Japan," because the famous team have won 21 Japan Series titles.
Too bad the Lions cannot play the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES in a "true World Series."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Route 1: Check your politics at the door, please

I feel sorry for people who must politicize everything. I think they must ultimately live sad lives, in which every defeat is a personal blow and every victory is as short-lived as the arrival of the next issue.
Surrounded by news and politics every day at work, I strive to make ROUTE 1 a refuge of arcane sports knowledge, gushing proselytizing about films and an endeavor to hear more, different music than humanly possible. There's a place for politics in this world, but not at ROUTE 1.
So thank goodness for ROUTE 1 reader STEVE M.!
Steve lives near the heart of the politicized world (Washington D.C., don't ya know) but his love of music transcends all partisanship.
Steve has enlightened me about so many great bands, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, John Mayall and Jefferson Airplane, to name just a few.
Imagine my delight, then, when yesterday's mail included a number of CDs from Steve, including a trio of discs devoted to SHELLY MANNE & HIS MEN AT THE BLACK HAWK.
For about 20 years, the Black Hawk was the premier jazz venue in SAN FRANCISCO, located at the corner of Turk and Hyde in the Tenderloin.
A drummer and bandleader most frequently associated with the "cool" WEST COAST JAZZ sound, Manne led a combo including trumpeter Joe Gordon, saxophonist Richie Kamuca, bassist Monty Budwig, and pianist Victor Feldman during a three-day engagement at the Black Hawk in 1959.
I am listening to the recorded results right now, thanks to my friend Steve.
Manne seems to swing a lot harder than some of the other West Coast jazz I have heard.
It's a joyous sound that provides a perfect antidote to the occasional bitterness of the politicized world view -- a world view that has a place somewhere, I suppose, but not here.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Is this how it feels in Saskatchewan?

I am gazing out my window at snowflakes fluttering past the leafless trees -- in early November? Sigh... I wonder if it is like this in SASKATCHEWAN?
Actually, whenever I want to learn about the prairie province, I can visit the blog of loyal ROUTE 1 reader and my friend, KERI. Her blog, IF I JUST LAY HERE, is located here. It is always an interesting read.
As everyone knows, it is a time-honored fact that IT'S GOOD TO HAVE A FRIEND IN SASKATCHEWAN.
For example, through Keri, I can follow the momentous exploits of the SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS football team. Although she admittedly only possesses an average amount of RIDER PRIDE, Keri and her boyfriend traveled from Saskatoon to Regina last month to attend the Riders' 55-9 CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE victory over Edmonton.
The victory was important, because it put the Riders in a position to host a home playoff game -- held later today.
The Roughriders face the Lions at Regina's Taylor Field, with the winner playing Calgary next week. Saskatchewan finished second in the West at 12-6. The third-place Lions are 11-7. Last year, the Roughriders participated in their first home playoff game since 1988, defeating the Stampeders 26-24.
So, to answer my original question: No, this morning is not like Saskatchewan -- nobody has splashed green paint all over their faces. GO RIDERS!!!

The B.C. Lions took advantage of seven Riders turnovers, including a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ryan Phillips, in a 33-12 win in the Canadian Football League's West semifinal this afternoon.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Light the reading lamp, it's Friday Question time again

Colder days and darker nights seem like optimum times to curl up with a book.
ROUTE 1 readers provide a literary guide by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What is the most memorable you have read in the past couple months?"
BEKAH P. -- "Water for Elephants." Fantastic, easy read.
KERSTIN H. -- "Carrie" by Stephen King.
MIKE M. -- I was struck by John le Carré's 1963 spy novel "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and Bob Dylan's 2004 autobiography "Chronicles, Volume One," but "Ask the Dust" by John Fante from 1939 is the most memorable. It's weird, funny, sexy, gritty, and as good as Steinbeck or Kerouac.
MARY N.-P. -- Actually, the one I'm finished now for my book club: "Three Cups of Tea" -- a true story of how to live a generous life, warts and all. It's about an American mountaineer who builds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan in mountain villages so poor the students met under a tree in good weather. Totally inspiring -- one can see why it was a best-seller.
BOB H. -- "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. Published in 1957, I thought it would be dated, but I find it very timely and very scary.
KERI M. -- "That extra half an inch" by Victoria Beckham (memorable, a good write, and useful because of my California trip coming up).
BRIAN M. -- "Living on the Black" by John Feinstein, about Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina during the '07 season, and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road."
MIKE D. -- "The Last Lecture" by terminally ill Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch. Lots of good life lessons. He died shortly after I finished reading the book.
ERIK H. -- "The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps" collects popular crime fiction from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Although there are some head-shaking, illogically formulaic stories, the collection also includes some fantastic works by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Norbert Davis, T.T. Flynn and Cornell Woolrich.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Good thing Claude visited Egypt

Oddly feeling parched after a dreary, rainy day, I am gulping ICE WATER while listening to the wonderful French hip-hop star MC SOLAAR.
Born Claude M'Barali in Dakar, Senegal, MC Solaar moved to France as an infant, the family settled in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, a suburb of PARIS.
He visited Egypt for nine months when he was 12. He fell in love with rap on the trip, and by 1990 he was the best rapper in France.
I can't understand many of his rhymes, but they sound great. Especially when I am oddly parched after a dreary, rainy day.
Good thing Claude visited Egypt.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lions even the series

I am groggy, recovering from a busy night at the newspaper. I posted 51 election-night updates to the newspaper Web site.
About the time that I returned home from a historic night, TAKAYUKI KISHI (pictured) was making some history of his own.
Kishi became the 12th pitcher to throw a shutout in his JAPAN SERIES debut, striking out 10 and walking one as the SAITAMA SEIBU LIONS blanked the YOMIURI GIANTS, 5-0, to even the series as two games apiece.
Kishi was the first hurler to accomplish the feat since former Yomiuri pitcher Takashi Nishimoto in 1981.

Takeya Nakamura hit a pair of two-run homers to help lift the Lions to the victory. Nakamura led the PACIFIC LEAGUE with 46 homers this season.
Well, enough lazing around the house, thinking about baseball. I need to prepare to return to work after my busy night.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The guaranteed, 100 percent original musings of ROUTE 1

"19... 20... 21... 22... 23..."
I have just been counting the number of blog posts by music fans writing about how they have been listening to SAM COOKE today.
You see, I was operating under the delusion that doing to the dishes this morning while listening to the "MAN AND HIS MUSIC" compilation was somehow original.
Judging from a GOOGLE BLOG SEARCH, you will be happy to know that these actions can now be considered a CLICHÉ.
Almost as big a cliché as me turning my back for a moment and RORY THE OUTSIDE POTTY CHALLENGED PUPPY leaping onto the (prohibited) coffee table.
It's ELECTION DAY, of course, and I am cooling my heels before heading to work, where my day could conclude as late as 2 a.m. (I will be providing election updates for our newspaper Web site throughout the night.)
I am wrapping up a few chores, reading, chastising the bad dog and listening to "A Change is Gonna Come" and all of those other, great, Sam Cooke songs.
I now know it is not the most original thing to do today, but I am going to keep at it. Thousands of bloggers can't be wrong, right?
OK, where was I?
24... 25... 26... 27... 28... 29..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Watching the transformation

The transformation was remarkable.
BOB DYLAN was a shy, curly haired kid craning his neck so his words could reach the microphone during the 1963 NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL.
Two years later, Dylan fronted a bonafide rock band that included the white-hot electric guitarist Mike Bloomfield.
In two short years, the change seemed more revolutionary than evolutionary.
I watched the transformation take place last night, thanks to Murray Lerner's documentary, "THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR: BOB DYLAN LIVE AT THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL, 1963-1965."
I had often heard of the incendiary, 1965 festival appearance.
Rock critic Jim Harrington wrote:
"Not since the premiere of Stravinsky's groundbreaking 'Rite of Spring' incited a riot at Paris' Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in 1913 has a musical transformation caused the kind of controversy that resulted when Bob Dylan plugged in on July 25, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival."
It took seeing the difference in Dylan's manifestations on film to understand the magnitude of the change.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A pop-art masterpiece

I am cooking a big pot of SPAGHETTI SAUCE while listening to one of my favorite albums of my youth.
I have had "THE WHO SELL OUT" on LP since high school. I recently added the 1967 album to my iPod, and the third album by THE WHO sounds as good as I had remembered.
THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN star "Speedy" Keene contributes the opener, the psychedelic sing-along "Armenia, City in the Sky." After the second track (the advertising satire "Heinz Baked Beans"), the album follows with six Pete Townshend compositions that show his astounding songwriting ability.
"Mary Anne With the Shaky Hands" sounds like a lost pop classic, overshadowed by the band's great singles of the mid-1960s. "Odorono" is meant as another satire on the commercialization of pop, but is so catchy, I think it stands on its own.
"Tattoo" and "Our Love Was" are both beautiful songs.
"I Can See for Miles" is the track everyone remembers from "The Who Sell Out," but the sixth and final Townshend song of the series, "I Can't Reach You," might be one of the most beautiful songs The Who guitarist wrote and sang.
The remainder of the album is fine, too, and the faux radio spots are funny to hear these days.
Rock critic Manish Agarwal describes "The Who Sell Out" as "a pop-art masterpiece."
"The songs are sensational," Agarwal wrote.
Listening while cooking, I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The other Fall Classic

Hiroyuki Nakajima hit a solo homer as the SAITAMA SEIBU LIONS opened the 2008 JAPAN SERIES with a 2-1 win over the YOMIURI GIANTS tonight at the Tokyo Dome.
Hideaki Wakui allowed one hit over eight innings for the Lions.
Taketoshi Goto also homered for the Tokorozawa-based team.
The Lions and Giants are old adversaries -- this Japan Series marks the 10th time the clubs have contested the autumn showcase.
The rivalry dates back to 1956, when the Fukuoka-based Nishitetsu Lions won the first of three straight titles against the Giants.
Both clubs have been among the most successful in Japanese history.
The Giants won nine straight titles from 1965 to 1973, while the Lions won eight Series crowns between 1982 and 1994.
Despite their name, I am not a big fan of the Japanese version of the Giants. I much prefer the HANSHIN TIGERS.