Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tastes of India

Yesterday was a good day to celebrate INDIA.
The cricketers defeated PAKISTAN in a CRICKET WORLD CUP semifinal and JILL and I shared some tea with some friends from India who live in Dubuque. They are fanatical cricket fans who cannot wait for Saturday's final against SRI LANKA. I can't wait, either.

I watched some classic BOLLYWOOD clips online when we returned home
Some of the most memorable were from the 1964 classic film, "KASHMIR KI KALI."

The film features several musical numbers in which actor SHAMMI KAPOOR mouths the words of legendary playback singer MOHAMMED RAFI.

Click on this YouTube link here for a taste of India.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A cricket shout out for good ol' Route 1

I woke up at 4 a.m. to listen to live audio commentary of INDIA v. PAKISTAN on the CRICKETWORLD.COM website.
The website's Lincolnshire-based commentary team often read tweets, Facebook posts and emails from people listening from various far-flung parts of the world.
I tweeted that I was listening to them from Dubuque, Iowa USA and the commentators read my message over the air, remarking that they would have to look for Iowa on a map.
I thought, that's cool, and listened to them describe the next ball bowled in the over.
While I listened, they must have clicked through some of the links on my Twitter profile, because the next thing one of the commentators announced to the world was:
"You can tell Erik follows cricket in America by looking at his Route 1 blog."
I sat bolt upright.
There was nobody for me to tell in my house. It was before 5 a.m., and everybody else was asleep.
I looked at RORY THE DOG and LORELEI THE BLACK CAT and said: "Did you just hear that?!"
In the event, India (260-9) defeated Pakistan (231) by 29 runs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today, the "Slinga." Tomorrow, the rivals

LASITH MALINGA has taken a wicket for only 20 runs thus far today, as SRI LANKA are bowling against NEW ZEALAND (98-3, 25 overs) in the first semifinal of the CRICKET WORLD CUP.
Malinga is known as "Slinga Malinga" for his unique bowling style.

The Kiwis have yet to get into a run-scoring mode against the Sri Lankan bowling attack that also features Ragana Herath and the splendid Muttiah Muralitharan.

This semifinal was always going to be the most one-sided of the pair, I think, with a much more competitive -- and highly anticipated -- semifinal match coming tomorrow.

INDIA face PAKISTAN, their political/cultural/religious/sporting/and everything-else-you-can-come-up-with rivals.

Today, the focus is on "Slinga" and his wild hair (pictured).

Tomorrow, the focus is on an entire subcontinent.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Noir writer presents the gold-covered girl

I work the next three days, then I am off for five.
Sorry, that has nothing to do with today's ROUTE 1. I just felt like bragging.

Today's Route 1 is about a fine CORNELL WOOLRICH story I began reading last night.

"FATAL FOOTLIGHTS" is about a burlesque showgirl who has died after being completely covered by gold paint for a show.

Sounds like "GOLDFINGER," doesn't it?

Woolrich is my favorite noir writer: A genius of plotting and description somewhat lost among the pages of the pulp magazines that featured his material. I can't wait to read more of this story, to find out how the detective solves the mystery.

Did I mention I have a five-day weekend coming up? Oh good.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kinks scenes

Scenes from a KINKS documentary.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

England don't break a sweat against Wales

It seemed all too easy for ENGLAND today. They seemed to barely break a sweat in defeating WALES, 2-0, at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in a EURO 2012 qualifier.
I watched live on ESPN2.

England scored both goals in the first half -- a Frank Lampard penalty and a Darren Bent strike from close range after an Ashley Young cross.

England appeared to be operating on cruise control in the second half, as a couple Welsh substitutions made little difference.

Wales were missing Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale, but I doubt his contributions would have made much difference to this result.

I was thrilled to see SCOTT PARKER in an England shirt. Always stylish, never flustered, my favourite Premier League player seemed right at home playing for his country. Pity he hasn't been given more opportunities.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rainy day pursuits

We've had plenty of rainy days lately, and with the arrival of spring (or so they say), we will have plenty more rainy days to come.
ROUTE 1 readers share their precipitation-laden experiences by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What's the best way to spend a rainy day?"

INGER H. -- Just what I did on our nasty, rainy Saturday -- watching noir movies on Netflix streaming! How did I ever live without it?!

RICK T. -- Home in Iowa looking at the beach cams on Panama City Beach Florida!

JIM S. -- This time of year, it's to study up for my fantasy baseball league. We're in our 26th (or is it 27th?) season. Any other rainy day, I like to find a project do to around the house and play some music.
STEVE M. -- Listen to jazz relaxing on the couch.
ANNIKA H. -- Read.

KERI M. -- Inside reading with good coffee.

JOHN S. -- Hoping for an awesome thunderstorm!

KERSTIN H. -- Reading... I plan to spend this whole week reading the Phantom of the Opera!.... cause it is just that good. ;)

BEKAH P. -- At home, reading --- preferably, in a comfy chair under a covered porch, so you can enjoy the full effect of the rain.

LISA Y. -- Reading, snoozing, watching movies, all while the whole family is doing

the same thing.
ERIK H. -- Listening to jazz, looking out the window as the rain falls.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

F**kin' 'ell, goodbye Fred Titmus!

Elizabeth Taylor wasn't the only celebrity in yesterday's obituaries.
Cricket fans and HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT aficionados are taken aback by Wednesday's death of FRED TITMUS.

Titmus, who died age 78, was an spin bowler whose first-class cricket career spanned five decades.

English indie band Half Man Half Biscuit immortalized Titmus in the 1985 song, "F**KIN' 'ELL, IT'S FRED TITMUS," a tune characterized by critic Paul Simpson as "the funniest song ever written about an England and Middlesex cricketer."

"Oh I was walking round my local store I was searching for the ten pence off Lenor, when suddenly I bumped into this guy on seeing who it was I gave a cry: 'F**kin' 'ell, it's Fred Titmus.'"

The song continues in a similar vein, also referencing Stevie Nicks and Dracula before it's done.

Hearing about Titmus' death made me dial up the old tune on the iPod yesterday.

It made me smile, so I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Great Sermon Handicap

I am in a bit of a funk this week -- our LAPTOP moved on to the GREAT COMPUTER BAG IN THE SKY, or wherever it is that computers go when they die.
I cheered myself up yesterday by reading another fine and funny JEEVES & WOOSTER tale by P.G. WODEHOUSE, "THE GREAT SERMON HANDICAP."

Bertie Wooster finds himself included in a most unusual betting scheme. His cousins and mates are so bored studying for exams that they bet on the length of sermons given by the pastors of the various local parishes.

They carefully study the form of the entries, as noted by Bertie's cousin Eustace, speaking about the Rev. G. Hayward, a dark horse in the long-sermon race:

"He delivered an address of 26 minutes by Claude's stop-watch. At a village wedding, mark you! What'll he do when he really extends himself?"

This tale being a Jeeves & Wooster story, things don't go quite as planned, and Bertie misses out on the gambling windfall. His valet Jeeves does all right, though.

For an 89-year-old short story, "The Great Sermon Handicap" has a timeless quality. It seems like it could have been set anytime between now and 1922, and Wodehouse's depiction of human interaction is as apt today as it was back then.
It's also very funny, which fits the bill for me this week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First ignored, then influential

I've always appreciated how music and books can offer solace when times are tough.
I had a particularly bad day yesterday (LAPTOP, R.I.P.), and "THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY" and ANDY MILLER'S book about album provided a welcome respite from my troubles.

Listening to the "Village Green" album, it's almost unfathomable to me that it was almost universally ignored upon its 1968 release.

"These days," Miller writes, "'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society' is widely acknowledged as the high point of (Kinks singer/songwriter) Ray Davies' often confounding career."

Davies himself called the album "the most acclaimed flop of all time."

While its contemporaries, albums filled with psychedelic experimentation, have increasingly shown their age, the "Village Green" remains what it was on its release -- a timeless look at the past, memory and loss.

But the album isn't all about the past.

Miller again:

"As the years have passed since its release, it stands revealed as the only album of the pop era to look beyond the 1960s and consider what might happen next."

Listen to British guitar-based pop of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and you can appreciate how influential "Village Green" would become.

It influenced me to feel better, too, which is the greatest influence of all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Earning a trip to Bali?

Here's a little story about the CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS.
While my sister INGER and I were waiting in the airport bar for our flights back from SYDNEY to the United States, members of the Sharks NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE club arrived, wearing T-shirts commemorating their upcoming post-season holiday to BALI.

The irony was that the Sharks arrived in the bar at the exact moment the highlights of their losing effort against Penrith were being shown on the TV. Commentators and newspaper reporters complained that the underachieving Sharks seemed more focused on their vacation than their final game of the season (they had failed to make the postseason because of indifferent results throughout the campaign).

Cronulla is the oldest club in the NRL to never have won the title, despite three appearances in the Grand Finals.

So, there is plenty of disappointment spread across the more than 40-year history of the club. The Sharks enjoyed a big day today, though, hanging on to upset the defending champions, the ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS, 16-10, on Monday Night Football.

I woke up an hour earlier than usual this morning to listen to the second half on TRIPLE M SYDNEY 104.9 live online.

The surprise win gives the Sharks some confidence, and maybe -- just maybe -- they are a little closer to earning another trip to Bali.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A week ago we lost Melvin Sparks

A week ago we lost MELVIN SPARKS.
Sparks was one of the FUNKIEST JAZZ guitarists I have ever heard.

He figures prominently on three of my favorite albums, "Everything I Play is Funky" by LOU DONALDSON and "Think!" and "Turning Point" by LONNIE SMITH.

Sparks died March 13 of complications from diabetes. He was 64.

A prolific artist, Sparks also played with Hank Crawford, Charles Earland, Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Reuben Wilson and others. Sparks recorded as a combo leader for Prestige, Savant and other labels, launching his solo career in 1970.

I am listening to Sparks' 1972 album "AKILAH!" while waiting for a trip to MADISON, WIS., and a dance competition featuring ANNIKA'S team.

"Akilah!" is as funky as jazz gets. Sparks is joined by the wickedly talented drummer Idris Muhammad and tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and altoist George Coleman, among others.

This album is a definite treat, and a fitting reminder of the talent lost when Sparks passed away.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Step back: Singing along to Shriekback

In the eerie half light of a chilly dawn. That's the perfect time to listen to some SHRIEKBACK!
I am puttering about, having woken up ridiculously early on a day off to listen to some AUSTRALIAN RUGBY LEAGUE (good on ya, WESTS TIGERS, for beating NEW ZEALAND, 20-12, for a first victory of the season).

It seemed like a good time to listen to my Shriekback playlist, which consists of the band's "TENCH" EP, the 12-inch version of the single, "MY SPINE (IS THE BASSLINE)" and the 1985 album, "OIL & GOLD."

I played the cassette version of the latter repeatedly during my college days. The song "NEMESIS" still triggers a warbly singalong which is best done alone -- trust me.

"We feel like Greeks, we feel like Romans. Centaurs and monkeys just cluster round us. We drink elixirs that we refine from the juices of the dying. We are no monsters, we're moral people. And yet we have the strength to do this. This is the splendour of our achievement. Call in the airstrike with a poison kiss."

See what I mean?

I just sang along at the top of my lungs. Good thing JILL AND THE GIRLS are in Peosta this morning.

"Priests and cannibals, prehistoric animals. Everybody happy as the dead come home. Big black nemesis, parthenogenesis. No one move a muscle as the dead come home."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Post No. 2000! Hoooooraaaaay!

Welcome to ROUTE 1 and POST No. 2000!
Happy anniversary and thanks for reading everyone!

When we started the blog, back in March 2005 (pictured), there was no Twitter, Lady Gaga was three years away from releasing her first single and the publication of "Twilight" was still about five months away.


Yesterday's blog post was also rather crazy. I decided to try using IRISH for all of my social media for ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

I promised some folks a translation, so here goes:

"Happy St. Patrick's Day! Long life to you! Happy St. Patrick's Day to our readers. Very well, thank you. Agreed. What is this? What is that? Why? I'm picking out phrases from the book and I copy them. Amazing! Do not bother to translate. It is stupid."

It was stupid, but it was also kind of fun, which could serve as a motto for the 2000-post-old ROUTE 1, couldn't it?

While we ponder that motto, let's turn to our readers, who have answered the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What would you say to a leprechaun?"

RICK T. -- Where's my Lucky Charms?

ANNIKA H. -- Why are you so short?

STACEY B. -- How often do you dream of destroying all those involved with the Leprechaun movies?

INGER H. -- If I don't believe in leprechauns, does that mean I can't have your pot of gold? Cause I'm pretty flexible.

JOHN S. -- You're short.

JILL H. -- Do the truly Irish thing and say:
"Here, you lead me to your little pot o' gold, and I'll buy you a Murphy's!"
ERIK H. -- According to the tales, leprechauns caught by a human have the power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release, so I would ask a leprechaun for tickets to an FA Cup final, a harborside condo in Manly, N.S.W. (I could just stroll down the Corso to the beach, mate) and a chef to cook our meals for us, since we are always so tired when we return to Route 1 H.Q., following a hard day at work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ná bac a aistriú. Tá sé dúr.

Saol fada chugat!
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona a sholáthar dár léitheoirí. Go han-mhaith, go raibh maith agat.
Cad é seo? Cad é sin? Cén fáth?
Tá mé ag frásaí piocadh amach as an leabhar agus cóip mé iad. Dochreidte!
Ná bac a aistriú. Tá sé dúr.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Kinks bonanza

I am about to enter a prolonged phase spent listening to THE KINKS.
A veritable Kinks bonanza arrived from AMAZON.COM yesterday.

I received:


* ANDY MILLER'S BOOK about the album.


The albums are generally considered the apex of RAY DAVIES' songwriting, the songs detailing the increasingly lost sense of "Englishness" amidst the changing times of modern Britain.

I sank a stout and listened to "Village Green" last night. It's wonderful.

I'll listen to "Arthur" in the car today, and as I walk at lunch.

In the meantime, prepare for a prolonged phase of me gushing over the Kinks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stevens' hidden gem revealed

Last evening seemed like a good time for a little CAT STEVENS.
After a lengthy, mind-clearing walk, I sipped a beer, looked through a rugby league book and listened to a succession of Stevens' fabulous songs -- "Wild World," "Moonshadow," "Peace Train," "Oh Very Young" and "(Remember the Days of the) Old School Yard" to name just a handful.

A towering songwriter, Stevens didn't even give a contemporary release to one of his songs that has grown to become my favorite.

"I'VE GOT A THING ABOUT SEEING MY GRANDSON GROW OLD" was recorded as a demo in 1970, but wasn't released until its inclusion on "THE VERY BEST OF CAT STEVENS."

Stevens discloses in the song that his greatest wish for the future is the prospect of seeing his family age with him:

"I just can't wait to see that city on the moon, with air conditioned gardens that'll play your favorite tune. I'll see my feet upon that street if it's the last thing that I'll do. Even sweep the roads to be there. But I've got no time for silly chitter chatter, I'm on my way. Cause while my blood's still warm and my mind doesn't matter. I'm hoping to stay. 'Cause I've got a thing about seeing my grandson grow old."

It's a brilliant song that didn't see the light of day until years after it was recorded.

That's the mark of a great songwriter: Stevens tossed aside songs other writers would have killed for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Up early for Monday Night Footy

I was hoping for a better result, after sacrificing an hour of sleep.
The CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS scored four tries to three to defeat my favorite club, the WESTS TIGERS, 24-14, in tonight's NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE action at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

I woke up an hour earlier than usual to listen to second-half coverage by TRIPLE M 104.9 radio online.

In the end, Canterbury's Steve Turner scored a try after a kick in goal by Trent Hodkinson with two minutes remaining to put the match out of reach.

My favorite player, Benji Marshall scored a second-half try to give the Tigers hope, before Turner's score effectively ended the contest.

As I listened, I recalled one of my days during my SYDNEY vacation. I took the ferry to the Olympic Park and the ANZ Stadium. It is a massive venue, built for the 2000 Olympics. I walked around the outside, soaking up the atmosphere.

It was a historic weekend Down Under. More than 200,000 people attended the first weekend of NRL matches for the first time. I woke up early twice this weekend to listen to matches, which I have sadly yet to find on Stateside television.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waking up to "The Greatest Game of All"

The other morning, JILL got home from a night bowling with her girlfriends a mere two hours before I woke up to listen to radio coverage of a sporting event on the other side of the world.
She arrived at 1 a.m., and I got up at 3.

What sport would persuade me to keep such odd hours?


In the event, Darius Boyd scored two tries as defending champions the ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS opened their 2011 campaign with a 25-16 away win over the GOLD COAST TITANS.

I listened on ABC Grandstand online.

Since returning from SYDNEY last September -- smitten with a sport I had only casually noticed before -- I have tried to listen to as many matches as possible, either on the ABC or the other radio rights holders, Sydney commercial stations 2GB or Triple M.

Sadly, I have yet to find Australian rugby league consistently on Stateside television.

It was once on TV. When we lived in Oregon in the early 1990s, there were weekly matches on our cable television. I regularly watched as Canberra, Manly and the other clubs battled each other in what Sydneysiders call "THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL."

Finding myself in Sydney, I fell in love with WESTS TIGERS, a merged entity combining a pair of the sport's foundation clubs, the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies.

Our hotel was in The Rocks, the traditional home territory of Balmain.

To be honest, with this weekend's arrival of "the footy" Down Under, I haven't even had the inclination to follow the "March Madness" sweeping the United States.

A sport that gets me up way before dawn *and* ignore the office NCAA pools?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan's crisis brought home

News of EARTHQUAKES always resonate with me, I suppose because of my CALIFORNIA upbringing.
I have been following the TSUNAMI crisis in JAPAN with even more interest than usual, I guess, because I also grew up watching Japanese television shows and films -- watching a GODZILLA flick was the best medicine when I struggled with ear infections as a lad.

The tsunami also impacted the American West Coast, in particular damaging harbors in California and Oregon.

I admit, I was distressed last night to learn of the approximately $10 million in damage caused in BROOKINGS, ORE.

My late dad, my sister and I spent nearly every summer in the southern Oregon seaside town. It's always been one of my favorite places on earth. That's why I reacted so sadly to the damage news.

The American damage pales, of course, compared to the continuing crisis in Japan. I'll continue thinking about them and praying for them, and I urge you to do the same.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fishy Friday Question

We've given up soda -- "pop" to the locals -- for LENT here at ROUTE 1 H.Q., so pardon us if the withdrawals kick in as we present the answers to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:
"Is there a type of seafood you could eat every day or every week?"

BOB H. -- This doesn't sound very exciting, but I make a low fat seafood salad, using bay shrimp and imitation crab or surimi. I use Tzaziki and a little wasabi mayonnaise to bind it with chopped onion and celery and some sweet pickle relish. I have an afternoon snack of this almost every day wrapped in Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed wafer.

JOHN S. -- Crab!

SANDYE V. -- Shrimp or salmon. Salmon is better for you and I actually eat a lot of it. The jury is still out on the cholesterol in shrimp, but I love it! Mmmmmmmmm!

- No. Unless hush puppies count.
JEFF T. -- I'm a big flounder fan. Whether it is stuffed or not, I always enjoy stuffing myself.
KERI M. -- Nope. Sorry.
KERSTIN H. -- Yes! Really any type but mainly salmon and cold cut crab!

RICK T. -- Large Grilled Shrimp, lightly seasoned.

ROSEANNE H. -- Cold, cracked crab and grilled salmon - and more crab and more salmon and more crab and more salmon.

ERIK H -- I could eat the breaded haddock I enjoyed at Geales, 2 Farmer St., London W8, at least every other day, if not daily. It remains the best fish I have ever tasted. Bonus: Washed down with Fuller's London Pride and served with crunchy chips.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Takemitsu appreciation night

I enjoyed watching -- and hearing -- one of my favorite films last night.
MASAHIRO SHINODA'S "IBUN SARUTOBI SASUKE (SAMURAI SPY)" is a complicated noirish tale of espionage and betrayal in 17th century feudal Japan.

I mention hearing the film because the score was created by TORU TAKEMITSU, a giant of modern Japanese music.

Considered one of Japan's greatest 20th century composers, Takemitsu also contributed scores for a number of my favorite films, including "Kurutta Kajitsu (Crazed Fruit)," "Kaidan," "Seppuku (Harakiri)," "Joi-Uchi: Hairyo Tsuma Shimatsu (Samurai Rebellion)" and "Ran."

In "Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke," Takemitsu artfully introduces traditional Japanese percussion and other instruments into an otherwise jazzy score -- befitting a film released in 1965.

Writing in "OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM," Chris Desjardins explains director Shinoda's use of Takemitsu's talents:

"Shinoda has been able to merge music into a film's whole, bridging the gap between sound and visuals quite unlike anyone else, employing the towering genius of avant garde composer Toru Takemitsu in an overwhelming number of his movies, in a similar way to how (Alfred) Hitchcock worked with composer Bernard Herrmann."

"Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke" is one of those films that grows in my estimation with every viewing. Last night served as a music appreciation course as much as film appreciation.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It makes more sense than rabbits vs. sheep

I just woke up from a disturbing dream in which a RABBIT ATTACKED A SHEEP ON TOP OF OUR GARAGE.
It doesn't make much sense.

Why would a rabbit attack a sheep? How did they get on the roof of a garage? When did we get a garage?

The JOHN FORD classic film "THE SEARCHERS" makes much more sense.

I watched it last night on DVD.

JOHN WAYNE stars as Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran compelled to find his niece, who has been abducted by Comanche Indians.

Only Ethan's ideas of saving his niece Debbie (Natalie Wood) aren't the same as the salvation offered by Debbie's adopted brother Martin (Jeffrey Hunter).

Ethan's racist views cause him to see Debbie as hopelessly and irredeemably defiled -- a target for eradication. Martin just wants to take her home.

This tension is only one of the complications in this influential film.

Why it might have influenced me to dream about a rabbit versus sheep encounter on a garage we don't really have, well, I just don't know.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My Lá Fhéile Pádraig playlist keeps growing

The Saw Doctors, The Stunning, The Boomtown Rats, Horslips, Stockton's Wing...
The list of artists on my IRISH-themed LÁ FHÉILE PÁDRAIG playlist keeps growing -- just in time for ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

In Tua Nua, Van Morrison, Moving Hearts, U2, D:Ream, Westlife...

The playlist is up to 117 unique artists for 7 hours of music.

I didn't even know the Emerald Isle (including Northern Ireland) had produced 117 musical artists!

The Undertones, The Thrills, The Frank & Walters, Bell X1, Christy Moore, Clannad...

Even with the growing number of musical acts on my playlist, I know there's some missing -- that's a sign of Ireland's vast and impressive musical heritage.

The Irish Tenors, Mary Coughlan, Margo & Country Folk, the Wolfe Tones...

I'll have plenty to listen to between now and St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Cricket crazy

The words "cricket" and "crazy" seem permanently attached during this year's CRICKET WORLD CUP in INDIA, BANGLADESH and SRI LANKA.
Consider ENGLAND: In the span of about a week or so, they:

1. Tied India.

2. Lost to Ireland.

3. Took a flurry of wickets to preserve a thrilling victory over South Africa.

4. Lost their star player, Kevin Pietersen, for the rest of the competition because of a hernia.

I've had my own brand of craziness at work, ranging from lengthy stories to an annual performance appraisal to stressful staff meetings to intruding upon tragedy (I covered a fatal dog mauling of a 3-year-old girl yesterday).

For me, following the Cricket World Cup has been a welcome diversion from my current reality.

I don't think I am as "cricket crazy" as the woman portrayed in this Indian cartoon (pictured above). Instead, I think following the cricket is keeping me from becoming crazy.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A good night for Bad News

I wish we could have stayed longer.
BAD NEWS, a combination of local television and newspaper journalists, played a benefit for HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF at a local pub last night.

The event drew a large number of my coworkers, bopping along to the classic rock tunes offered.

JILL and I received a call about an hour into the performance: One of the two little kids the girls were babysitting at our house had taken ill (also missing his mom, apparently).

We returned home, to find the little fellow already asleep on the couch.

Ah well.
The night out was short but fun.
I work a rare Sunday today, so it's probably for the best that I slept instead of rocked. This time.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Can't get enough of The Dukes of Stratosphear

I've spent the morning listening to THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR while tinkering with an XTC playlist for my iPod.
The Dukes were XTC disguised as psychedelic rockers on a pair of discs released in the 1980s -- "25 O'CLOCK" (1985) and "PSONIC PSUNSPOT" (1987).

The songs are brilliant (it *was* XTC after all) and completely *not* of their own time.

These songs drip with fuzz and feedback and backwards effects and many other sonic signatures that had been discarded in favor of the typical Eighties production values of the day. Thank goodness there's no synthetic drumming or synthesizers are these great tracks.

"What in the World," "The Mole From the Ministry," "Vanishing Girl" and "Brainiac's Daughter" are just a few of the absolutely outstanding songs created by the Dukes.

I'm going to listen to more of it after I watch soccer today. I can't wait.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Transfixed by the famous

These days, you can't even begin to mention the name "JUSTIN BIEB--" SKREEEE! without an interruption by ear-piercing shrieks.
It seems half the house (non-pet population) has been caught in the mania surrounding the Canadian pop sensation.

ROUTE 1 readers recall occasions they have been transfixed by the famous by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION, submitted by KERSTIN H. (one of the people fascinated by
"Have you ever been crazed by a celebrity?"

RICK T. -- The first time I met George Jones I know I talked stupid or said something I can't even remember. He is my idol and I was so excited to meet him.

KERI M. -- Yes. The New Kids On The Block. When I was younger, probably around your age.

BEKAH P. -- Oh, my Lord! When I was a teenager, Macaulay Culkin was the world's most glorious gift to mankind. Seriously, he was just the one thing that made life worth living. Then, I abandoned my adoration of the Home Alone star, and my tastes shifted to the older, more refined men, such as Paul McCartney and Alan Alda. Now, I am jaded, and I think all men are merely meh.

ANNIKA H. -- Justin Bieber!

JEFF T. -- I fell in love with Miss Nevada one time... Then I married her.

MIKE D. -- I was in junior high when "Charlie's Angels" debuted. 'Nuf said.

KERSTIN H. -- Yes twice. Robert Pattinson and now Justin Bieber!

ERIK H. -- My introduction to male hormones occurred at the approximate time of my introduction to the 1970s poster of Farrah Fawcett in the red swimming suit. It had a magnetism I was unable to verbalize, except by saying: "Urrrrr..."

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The power of blue

I guess it was the succession of GREY DAYS that made me stop during my noon walk yesterday, look up at the sky, and marvel at the DEEPEST BLUE I could ever remember seeing.
That's how much I'm looking forward to SPRING, which should arrive one of these days, since we are at March.

My walk and the glance at the heavens was a good respite for me: In a seven-day span at work I have deadlines coming due for the five most stressful experiences a TELEGRAPH HERALD reporter faces, including a PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL.

The latter was yesterday and went fine. No doubt aided by my exposure to the deep blue expanse.

Did I mention the weather forecast predicts a return to grey skies the remainder of the week? Ah well...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Sing it like you're 6 feet tall

CHRIS EVANS played THE WHO on his BBC RADIO 2 BREAKFAST SHOW this morning, which inspired to dial up "THE WHO SINGS MY GENERATION" on my iPod.
The debut album includes the singles "My Generation," "A Legal Matter," "The Kids are Alright" and "La-La-La-Lies," as well as a clutch of songs that could have easily been singles, such as "Out in the Street" and "The Good's Gone."

Of the latter, Pete Townshend said in 1965:

"I like it. Roger (Daltry) sounds as though he's about 6 feet tall when he's singing."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus!
That means "Happy ST. DAVID'S DAY." I plan on the listening to THE ALARM today in recognition of the Welsh national day.

I'd wear a daffodil on my shirt, but we still have a little too much winter for the daffodils.