Three mini-posts

I did, unfortunately, end up watching most of the “debate” last night, giving up at about the 2/3 mark when it became clear that the Beast was not going to stroke out or have a heart attack while I was watching. It was every bit as horrible and depressing as everyone says it was; there simply should not be further debates while this person is in office. There’s no goddamn point. There have been some rumblings that the rules are going to change from the debate commission, but if they’ve provided any specifics I’ve not seen them yet. Basically unless the moderator has the power to cut microphones there’s no further point in entertaining the exercise any longer.

We missed the sadly predictable moment where he refused to condemn white supremacy. Which … no one should have been surprised. White supremacists, the Klan, and the Nazis are clearly his people, and there has been no reasonable doubt about that for quite some time. He’s not going to condemn them because he’s one of them. That’s all there is to it. And yes, you are a bad person if you continue to support him. It’s not up for debate.


I think it is still the case that I own every album-length release Public Enemy has put out, including their live album. I generally find out about them by accident now, though, and while it’s kind of depressing it’s been true for a while that the band’s best days are behind them. The fact that they continue to mine the well of songs from Yo! Bum Rush the Show and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back after all these years is … well, it’s a choice, is what it is, and true to form this release has three or four different tracks that pull material from those two albums, plus a remake of Fight the Power with a bunch of new verses by non-PE rappers.

That said … I think I”m on my seventh or eighth listen already, and I just discovered it on Tuesday, so they’re doing something right. I mean, it’s PE. It’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav, despite the fact that Flav has been kicked out of the band at least seven or eight times by now. I’m enjoying it.


I got an email from Human Resources this afternoon, late enough in the day (no doubt on purpose) that there was no real point in asking for any clarification, informing me that my request for a length-of-the-pandemic e-learning job had been approved. (I assume it’s length of the pandemic. How long this job is slated to last was not mentioned, and honestly I can’t criticize them for not knowing.)

This rather portentous paragraph was in the message:

As we begin to start school back next week,  please be aware that your grade level, subject, or building designation could change based on the demand for eLearning in the school corporation.   We will continue to modify based on student attendance, eLearning requests, and building needs. 

Now, next week is the last week of the quarter, so my assumption is that I still have my current job next week. But I literally have no idea what they will have me doing the week after that. None at all. I mean, I’ll probably still end up teaching math in my current building, because seniority, but I have no idea.

And, I suspect, neither do they.

The pandemic started in March, y’all.

So that’s fun.

The 10 Album Challenge

I just finished this the other day, doing it slightly wrong (my 10 albums was 15 albums, and this post will add at least two more) and I figured I’d at least post the albums I chose here, in no particular order beyond the first one:

This is the most important one, and it should probably be its own post, as virtually no one I met beyond high school would ever have met me had I never listened to this album. This is the single most important piece of music I’ve ever listened to, period.

The soundtrack to my junior year of high school.

I really could have chosen any of Pearl Jam’s first three albums and it would have been fine.

Similarly, there are about three Public Enemy albums I could have picked.

The part of my brain that wasn’t marinating itself in hiphop during high school was marinating itself in reggae.

Speaking of marinating in hiphop, this was either the first or the second hiphop album I ever bought, and it had much more of a long-term impact than the other, which would have been the Fat Boys.

The other soundtrack to my senior year of high school, and the album that was being played at incredibly unsafe volume during all sorts of high-speed, late-night drives in the boonies in southern Indiana during college.

I got very heavily into blues music in college; there are a half-dozen BB King albums I could have picked.

One of only two Dave Matthews Band albums I really like, this one got me through my sophomore year of college. Will never forget having this on in the background about three days after it came out while a friend and I were hanging out and her remarking after a few minutes, incredulous, “You’ve memorized it already?”

Speaking of memorization: another big car album, and an album that we were listening to during an unforgettable game of euchre in high school, where the only words spoken by anyone at the table other than loudly singing along were to claim the trump suit. Whistling in the Dark was fucking epic.

I used to actually meditate to a couple of the songs on this album.

Listening to this one right now. Another case where I could have chosen any of several albums.

The other utterly unforgettable album from my blues period. Things Gonna Change is a perfect song.

The soundtrack to my senior year of high school.

And, closing in on 30 years after I first bought it, an album I still listen to on the first really warm day of every year. It’s not spring until I’ve listened to No One Can Do It Better, preferably in the car.


8:17 PM, Monday May 11: 1,346,723 confirmed cases and 80,342 deaths, which represents a remarkable slowdown over the last couple of days, and the smallest two-day total in months, which I’m afraid is going to end up having something to do with people not reporting much over Mother’s Day. We’ll see how tomorrow and Wednesday go.

#Review: BEASTIE BOYS STORY

Man, it’s weird when rappers get old.

I’m in the odd position of wanting to review something that I’m pretty certain very few of you will actually be able to watch: the documentary BEASTIE BOYS STORY, directed by Spike Jonze, currently exclusive to Apple TV+. Which I only have because I bought an iPhone this year and you get a free year when you do that. So far we’ve watched this documentary and season one of SEE, which was entertaining and pretty and unbelievably, heinously dumb.

And the thing is, I’ve been a Beastie Boys fan for, functionally, my entire damn life. License to Ill came out in 1986, when I was nine, and if it wasn’t the first rap tape I ever got it was the second, since I don’t remember if I bought this or the Fat Boys first. (Also, Jesus, at least two of the Fat Boys don’t even scan as fat any longer. I’m bigger than all three of them, I think.) So it’s weird to see Adrock and Mike D on stage as, basically, two old dorky white guys telling terrible jokes and reading, mostly not especially compellingly, off of a TelePrompTer.

I was thinking this was going to be a more standard talking-heads type of documentary, but what it actually is is a two-man stage show, with Spike Jonze handling audio and video on a giant screen behind them and tons and tons of white people in their 40s and 50s in the audience. And while I definitely enjoyed watching it (and, perhaps more importantly, so did my wife, who doesn’t have remotely the attachment to hiphop that I do, and virtually none at all to the Beastie Boys specifically) I have to admit that there’s a certain bittersweet element to watching it, as MCA was absolutely and undeniably the brains and the soul of this group and he passed away of cancer in 2012. It’s as if Lennon got shot and the only members of the Beatles left were Ringo and Pete Best. The Beastie Boys didn’t have a Paul McCartney, y’know? Once Adam Yauch was gone, the group was over; there was never any chance of either of the other two even trying a solo career.

Seen as the artifact it is, this is definitely worth two hours of your time, especially if you have ever been a fan of either rap music or the Beastie Boys (and I can watch music documentaries all goddamn day long even if I don’t like the artists they’re about) but I did find myself wishing we could break away from the perspective of the two surviving band members from time to time. I’d like to hear what Rick Rubin or Russell Simmons have to say about the group’s split from Def Jam, or what Run-DMC had to say about their tour together, and oh my god this is what Rick Rubin looks like now:

Holy shit. Dude.

Yeah, well, point is, some other perspectives would have been nice, from time to time, and there are a couple of weird lacunae in what we get that could have used some shoring up– early bandmate Kate Schellenbach gets enough attention that you expect there to be some sort of payoff, which never really arrives, for example. But if you go in knowing what you’re about to see– Mike D and Adrock (who damn near never calls himself that; he’s “Adam” throughout the documentary, and Adam Yauch is “Yauch,” not MCA) talking about their lives on stage, mostly from a script, and some almost insultingly corny jokes from time to time, it’s not a bad way to spend two hours. Call it a B-, I guess.


4:49 PM, Sunday May 3: 1,154,340 confirmed infections and 67,447 Americans dead. Meanwhile, a whole lot of places open back up tomorrow, and … this is not going to go well, at all, for a whole lot of people.

Stuff what I don’t wanna write about

CW: Sexual assault. Skip the first thing if necessary.

THING THE FIRST: I have been deliberately Not Writing About Tara Reade for … God, time is meaningless right now, but for however long it’s been since I first heard about her allegations against Joe Biden. Well, as it turns out, apparently John Cole and I are the exact same person, as he’s written basically the exact post I would have had I chosen to write about the situation, with the single absent detail that this is why I decided to go ahead and vote for Elizabeth Warren in the primary. I doubt Reade’s story for a number of reasons, but it’s always possible other, more credible allegations could surface. If anything, that’s the strongest argument against this: nobody who does what Tara Reade says Joe Biden did to her only does it once.


I tweeted this a couple of days ago:

Y’all, this is Jack Harlow:

And, dammit, I admit it: I read that Tweet I was responding to, genuinely thought that “Jack Harlow” might be Macklemore’s real name or something like that, and he actually has a song called “10,000 Hours“, and then Googled and found out that no, he wasn’t Macklemore, it was this dude. And if anything this dude looks even less like a rapper than Macklemore. And then I pulled him up on YouTube, because I was in the mood to make fun of a bad rapper, and now it’s two days later and I own two of this motherfucker’s albums. He’s not the best rapper in the world by any stretch, but the kid’s got bars, and I went from Oh, this is gonna suck to this isn’t terrible to God damn it I hate it when I’m wrong in, like, ten minutes. He’s got this great, laid-back, chill flow to his music, and in complete seriousness I think the last time I discovered new rap music that I liked this much was Rae Sremmurd.

Anyway, point is, give this a listen, but maybe do it with your eyes closed. More later today; I’ve got like three posts queued up right now.


12:52 PM, Friday May 1: 1,070,032 confirmed cases, 63,019 Americans dead.

Friday night classic hiphop dance party!

I fell into a rabbit hole on Twitter last night, and for some reason I feel like preserving it here. Enjoy!